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Denise Crosby explains 
why she left STAR TREK 

.•ftf T 

*r * 



spills the bean 


James Caan 
Mlves SF crimes 


f Five returns 



oozes back 


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Short Circuit 2— Page 10 


Gearing up for the sequel is 
v creator Ken Johnson 

They move mtnfls & fondle 
objects in search of good "Vibes" 


Getting small was a big challenge 
for Rick Overton & Kevin Pollak 


Haunted by the creeping ooze, 
Del Close confronts his past 



She bids farewell to "Star "n^ek" & 
explains why she left 


Sylvester McCoy gets accustomed 

to life as the Time Lord 


Do Toons dream of animated 
sheep? Robert zemeckis 

Sylvester McCoy— Page 32 


Defining science s fiction, the 
Hugo-winner looks to the future 

He teams with an E.T. detective 
to face "AlieniMation" 


Growing up gets the fantasy 
touch from Penny Marshall 


When an Isaac Aslmov tale gets 
filmed, are the results classic? 


Walter Koenig takes a lunar 
Odyssey between love & madness 


Taking up the blade, Joanne 
Whalley defends the Lucasfilm 



Readers remember Tasha 



Why kill off Crosby? 


STARLOC is puDiisned monthlv bv OOurNN STUoros, INC., 475 park Avenue south. New York, N.Y. 10016. STARlOC is a registered tracJemark of OQuinn Studios inc 
(issfj 0191-4626) TTils is issue Number i5d, September 1988 (volume Tweivei. Content is ij Copvrignr 1988 bv OOUlNN studios, inc aii rights reserved Reprint or 
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SEPTEMBER 1988 #134 

Business and editorial Offlcos: 
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A Distant Dream 

ometimes I forget that science fiction is not an American invention. Sometimes 
many of us in the good old United Slates forget that there are science-fiction 
fans, clubs and conventions in (as far as 1 know) every country on our planet. 
And to many of these fans in distant lands, science fiction is even more personally 
important than it is to those of us whose everyday world is the land of NASA and 
Hollywood and Silicon Valley. 

Recently, this fact was driven home to me by a delightful experience. 

1 had always wanted to see Holland— from what I had heard, a country of 
beautiful art and architecture, and of friendly people— so 1 planned a spring trip, 
designed to hit the Netherlands at the peak of the tulip-blooming season. 

By coincidence, s&veral months before my trip, 1 received a letter at STARLOG 
from a young Dutch boy who had just discovered our magazine, 1 wrote to him with 
subscription information and mentioned that I would be in Amsterdam the end of 
April— and he wrote back, wishing that we could meet and talk. 

We worked out plans for me to drive south of Amsterdam to his village, Uden, 

Jurjen (pronounced: ^oj^r-ee-un) Bhck is 15 years old and lives with his mother, 
father and younger sister in a three-story house surrounded by flower gardens, and 
also inhabited by a friendly dog and a colorful bird. He has learned four languages, 
takes seven courses at school and holds down a job delivering newspapers (which 
requires that he gets up by 5:00 each morning), 

Jurjen is in love with Star Wars. 

He was about seven when he first saw Luke Skywalker in The Empire Sfhkes 
Back, and it changed his life. He began to collect Star Wars action figures, books, 
props and products of all kinds. Jurjen took me up the steep stairs to his attic 
room— where every square foot of his walls and ceiling are covered with posters and 

Although Star Wars remains his favorite subject, it also has opened the doors to 
science fiction in general, and he reads novels and collects soundtrack recordings with 
eager energy. He is a member of a German Star Wars fan club and devours every 
word of their fanzine- His favorite composer is John Wilhams, and he was ecstatic 
when I delivered an Empire of the Sun soundtrack to him as a birthday present. 

Jurjen also admires George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. With these men as his 
heroes and their creations as his inspiration, he has discovered the goal of his Ufe — to 
make movies— especially science fiction and fantasy, his all-consuming passion. 

He has planned the schooling he will need in Holland to prepare himself for a 
career in the movies, and when he finishes his education, he hopes to come to 
America and begin turning his ideas into films. For Jurjen, the paper delivery boy 
living in a remote village near the border of Germany, this is a very distant dream. 

Although his family and friends at school tolerate his obsession with science fiaion» 
they offer no real encouragement for his goal. It is perhaps too distant for others to 
believe possible, but Jurjen is determined. Although he longs for someone else to 
share his interests and to suppon his aspirations, he has an inner confidence that he 
will make his dream come true. 

And if Jurjen Blick does succeed, and we are one day watching his galactic adven- 
tures, it will be fun for me to remember the boy I arranged to meet, standing in front 
of the church, wearing headphones which Med his universe with the soaring melodies 
of John Williams, and a jacket decorated with Lucasfilm and STARLOG patches, 
whose face lit with sunshine when he saw me— as if 1 were a messenger from a world 
he dreamed of, offering hope that someday he would become part of that world. 

Jurjen took me to visit a museum of science and technology in a building elevated 
off the ground in the shape of a giant flying saucer. We browsed a record store in a 
nearby town, and he found a soundtrack he wanted (science fiction, of course). We 
ate lunch, and he bombarded me with questions about movies. 

1 could see in his face, constantly, that our day together was a highlight of Jurjen's 
life. Science fiction is his link to his own future, and I was a living link to science 
fiction. A friend told me that it was generous of me to sacrifice a day of my vacation 
for that young man. But it was no sacrifice. 1 walked away with something at least as 
important as what Jurjen got. 

I was reminded that science fiction is alive and well all over the world. But mainly, 
Jurjen Bhck refreshed my spirits with his youthful optimism — his happy way of lov- 
ing things passionately and his certainty that he will hold his distant dream in his* 
arms. Someday. 

As we said goodbye, he proudly spoke to me in words I could not understand. He 
smiled quickly and announced, '*That*s Dutch for 'May the Force be with you!' '^ 

^Kerry O'Quinn/ Publisher 

SIK^'LOQ/September 1988 5 


Because of the large volume of mail 
we receive, personal replies are 
impossible. Other fans & advertisers' ■. 
sometimes contact readers whose let- 
ters are printed here. To avoid this, 
mark your letter "Please Withhold My 
Address," Otherwise, we retain the op- 
lion to print your address with your let- 
ter. Write: 

475 Park Avenue South, 8th Floor 
New York, NY 10016, 


, . . I bought issue #126 to read ihe article on the 
new Star Trek. Before I got it, I started reading 
the articles on Siarman and the campaign that has 
been going on to bring it back to TV. I had heard 
about the campaign a few months ago, but had 
heard nothing since and had thought it had just 
fizzled out. 

I have to hand it lo these Starman fans. They 
are something else. I sincerely hope that they ac- 
complish what they have set out lo do, to bring 
Siarman bacR fo television. I myself have not seen 
it, but 1 intend to. If it means that much \o ail 
these people, it must be as good as they say it is, 

Jauice Rowlauds 

Address Unknown 



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. . .Although on the surface Starman and Star 
Trek would appear lo have few similarities, both 
series have in common an upbeat, hopeful view of 
mankind that is very refreshing, I ihink that this 
note of optimism is a large pan of Siarman's ap- 
peal. I found Siarman to be warm, humorous and 
intelligent. With its offbeat and touching father- 
son relationship, well-written stories and engaging 
characters, Siarman proved that science- fiction 
television doesn*t have to have violenl, action- 
oriemed plots and expensive special effects lo be 
successful. Vet, in spite of ABC^s cancellation of 
the series, 1 consider ii to be a success. 
Mainstream critics may not have appreciated its 
quality, but, as evidenced by the Spotlight Star- 
man campaign, we viewers certainly did. 

Deborah C. Leis 

Rt. 2 Box 225 

Pine Road 

Blackstone, VA 23824 

. . . I'm certainly pleased to read about the kind of 
response the Starman series received (STARLOG 
#126) while it was on the air. I'm glad I was in 
such good company. From the very start, 1 saw 
with delight the care taken with the script, the 
characters and the effeas. 1 began taping it, and 
Tm proud to say I have every show. 

Just look at Max Headroom. What a pro- 
gressive show, fast, humorous and great visual ef- 
fects. It was something really different— and it 
was too good to last as well, Tm amazed to see 
how well Beauty and the Beast is doing in the 
ratings. The. way things have been going for genre 
shows* it seems to be that the only thing to do is 
tape these shows, folks. They're too good to last! 

Carol McGuire 

Houston, TX 


Hailing frequencies closed, sir," Perhaps, 
one of the saddest lines spoken on a television 
show in a long time. This quote, from Lt. 
Natasha Yar in a holographic image message at 

her funeral,remindsmeof just how human we all 
are, that the crew of the new starship Enterprise is 
not invincible, and are capable of showing their 
grief and expressing their words and actions 
towards this tragic woman. I am grateful they 
portrayed death, truly something the old series 
never seemed lo get across. Thank you, crew of 
the starship NCC-1701-D, for making me believe 
in you, and Lt. Yar, may you rest in peace. 

Tammy Ales 

1421 Westwood Drive 

Neenah, Wi 54956 


, . .1 am a 19-year-old college student who likes 
mainiainmg a light grip on his emotions. Twice, 
however, in the last eight or so years, I have lost 
control and ended up teary-eyed. The first time 
was in 1982 with the death of Captain Spock in 
Star Trek //, and the second was just recently with 
the death of Ll. Natasha Yar in the Star Trek: 
The Next Generation episode *'Skin of Evil." 

These sequences affected me mainly because of 
the nature of the events taking place, but also, 1 

commend Gene Roddenberry, the cast, crew, and 
everyone else involved with ST:TNG for a superb 
show that equals if not surpasses the original. 

Mark Chicken 

2807 Wildwood Lane 

Wausau, Wl 54401 

. . .And so it finally happened and the rumors 
proved true. In her last episode, we are finally see- 
ing that Tasha is now coming to terms with who 
she is and her place in Ufe. She is now truly a part 
of the family aboard the Enterprise. It is quite a 
wonderful thing to behold. And then only 
minutes later, we see her in Sick Bay dying. It all 
seems so utterly senseless- Yet, we see how the 
sacrifice was not in vain, and that her life in some 
small part prevenis another from being killed, and 
all in an effort to save a friend. She died the way 
she expected to, in the line of duty. 

To this latest episode, there is going to be much 
reaction and, of course, some of it will be 
negative. The killing of such a character with such 
great potential is in itself a tragedy. We know that 
Denise Crosby wanted to leave the series, but still, 
there could have been other ways of removing her 
character in a less, . .drastic manner? 

Dave Sutton 

2039 Grosvenor Street 

Oakville, Ontario 

Canada L6H 5A2 

... 1 watched Entertainment Tonight several 
weeks ago. They stated that Denise Crosby was 
going 10 be leaving Star Trek: The Next Genera- 
tion. 1 was hoping that her character would be 
assigned to a Starbase^ or a Siarfleet Academy as 
an instructor so that she could come back maybe 
once or twice in the future. Then sometime later, 
this same program announced that Lt. Natasha 
Yar was to be killed off. 1 was shocked! 

So. now that the episode, "Skin of Evil*' has 
been shown, I was a bit disappointed in her death. 
I had hoped she wouldn't be killed off so soon, 
and that she would have given her life in defense 
of another's that had been threatened, and in 
mortal, physical danger. 

When 1 watched the scene on the Holodeck, 
with the holographic image of Tasha giving her 
own eulogy about her friends, and what they 
meant to her; especially seeing Worf give a slight 
smile, made up for any disappointment I may 
have felt. Hearing her speak about them, I felt 
thai 1 had lost a member of my own family. 

Data said h best. ''My thoughts are not for 
Tasha, but for myself. 1 keep thinking how emp- 
ty it will be without her presence," 

Tina Louise Lopei 

1255 East Gore Road 

Erie, PA 16504 

... I am quite upset about the death of Lt. Tasha 
Yar. \n my opinion, Tasha Yar is a character that 
the new show cannot do whhout. Yar was very 
aggressive and strong yet she also had a female 
side. It's wild to see a female capable of beating 
men up instead of the weak women usually seen 
on TV. 

I just cannot see The Next Generation without 
Ll. Yar. I mean, who can replace her? A man? 
You've got to be kidding. Yar represents a future 
where there is no sexual discrimination. A time to 
come when women are truly equal to men. 

Jeannette Rios 

79 Post Avenue 

Apt. fi\ 

New York, NY 10034 

. . . Who do those guys think they are — kilhng off 

a regular, U. Tasha Yar, al the bat of an eye? 

Granted, the episode was beautifully done with 
a touching scene at the end, bul still, 1 always 
thought ihe idea of having regulars in a series is so 
that you can have an assurance and can rely on 
them to come out of the situations "all right/' If 
the idea of this episode is to get people (especially 
fan^ like me) emotionally worked up, they have 
succeeded. Now, 1 just hope they will have an 
episode where they will bring her back! They've 
done it before. 

C.S. Van 

New York. NY 

. . , Watching "Skin of Evil/' 1 was reminded of 
Creepshow 2, which contained a segment 
concerniug four teens who were "sucked'' under 
a pit of slime. Of course, the film quality wasn't 
that of The Next Generafion, yet both were dumb 
nonetheless. A talking slime creature? Could there 
have been any worse way to go? The death was 
senseless, worthless, and for what reason? In the 
article in issue #130, I saw no reasons, no conflicts 
between cast and crew mentioned. Again, why? 

Of all the Nexi Generaiion characters, Tasha 
touched my emotions most. 1 understood her 
frustrations, feh happy when she was praised, and 
cared when she fell alone. In a sense, she resembl- 
ed many teens in America. Ones faced with prob- 
lems for which they know only one solution— to 
fight. Many iire insecure, as she was. 

The Bridge will never be the same without her, 
gone will be her determination, her crisp voice dic- 
tating "haihng frequencies open," her loyahy. 

Even though Denise Crosby will still be acting, 
Tasha's death won't be made up for. Crosby's 
acting style, combined with the character, was a 
match well-made. Perhaps the executives of The 
Nexi Generation would like to consider reincarna- 
tion? With all the mysterious life forces in outer 
space, there must be one who can reconstruct 
others. Maybe Q could do h, although he ma> 
nt:ed some brainwashing flr&l. 

Mariah Fegarsky 

178 Parkside Drive 

Suffern. NV 10901 

,,. What's wrong with this picture? Why, we 
seem to have forgotten the women of ST:TNG. 
And so has Gene Roddenberry and company. 
Yes, that's right, all fellow female Trek watchers, 
it's Uhura's syndrome all over again. ST.TNG 
has become just another exercise in "machismo;" 
the same kind of inane programming the net 
works present us with. 

A couple Of weeks before the STARLOG arti- 
cle about Denise Crosby (;?130), TV Guide 
reported thai she would be the Hrsi crew member 
to die, and it would happen sometime in May. 
With the different deadlines, we were assuming 
that they had late information that STARLOG 
didn't. This brings to a head certain issues that 
have bothered all the female fans we've talked to. 
Sfar Trek is once again treating women like 
seamd-dass citizens. That old late '60s, NBC at- 
titude is running amok — women are all right to 
tend people in Sick Bay or run a console, but 
beyond that, forget it! 

We arc heartily sick of the way Tasha Yar has 
slipped since the show's beginning. She started 
out strongly ("Encounter at Farpoint," *'The 
Naked Now," "Code of Honor"). After that 
strong start, she wh^ then chiseled down to a 
decoration on the back of the Bridge. She opens 
hailing frequencies, operates tractor beams and 
readies photon torpedos. Occasionally, she leads a 
security team. Beyond that, however, too few 
scenes show the human side, or indeed any other 
side, of Tasha. And it has been very much the 
same for Deanna Troi and Dr. Beverly Crusher. 

Deanna, after an interesting start, had to 
choose between career and family when her fiance 
showed up. Puhieeze! In the future that Trek is 
supposed to portray, wouldn't ihose kind of 
dilemmas have been virtually erased? 

The only woman to fare better is Dr. Beverly 
Crusher and even she has rcwm for enormous im- 
provement. Her past associations with Picard and 
her son's abililies provide many possibilities. So 
does the fact that she can relieve the captain of 
command if he's unfit. But, once again, it's just a 
few scenes or a brief moment here or there. 
Usually, Beverly is moaning about Wes, swabbing 
scrapped knees or (really important) lusting and 
panting after Jean-Luc. We see almost nothing of 
the mixed emotions she might have toward Picard 
or how to cope with a boy genius. 

The interview with I^iuse Crosby only 
underlines the major problem with the show— its 
blatantly chauvinistic attitude towards Ihe female 
characters. Take, for instance, the fact that in the 
early writers' guide Tasha was called Macha and 
described as '*a stocky, tough, mascuhne kind of 
\voman.*' That kind of ridiculous stereotyping 
should have been eliminated right from the start. 
In fact, it shouldn't have been entertained at all. 
The decision thai Gene Roddenberry made to cast 
Crosby in the role was the last good one he made 
concerning the women of STTNG. Apparently, 
Crosby is right; some 1980s minds can't write for 
[he far future. 

Vanessa Prineas Carrie Rockenhauser 

1702 Kingston Circle 155 Washburn 

Carpentersviile, IL Elgin, IL 

60110 60120 

Kathy Frachey Susie Uhl 

1353 Stony Island R.R. 3 Box 1104 

Crete. IL Crete, I L 

60417 6(MI7 

See page 8 for news re: Gates McFadden's Dr. 

. . -Willi ail the publicity out about the killing of 
Tasha Yar, 1 really think it shows a lack of 
responsibility on STARLOG's part to run an ob- 
viously old interview just to reap the rewards of 
ihc current publicity surrounding Denise Crosby. 

Although the episode dealing with Tasha Yar's 
duaih was excellent, 1 do think there were other 
episodes which she appeared more and had more 
lines. Acting isn't just the number of lines one 
has. Acting is re-acting and being on "stage*' or in 
this case '*on camera," For an ensemble cast, she 
had quite a large part. It is a pity that she didn't 
realize this or the old adage, "there are no small 
parts, only small actors." 

Barbara Sue Silver 

933 East 300 South #21 

Sail Lake City, VT 84102 

. . Thank you for your cover story on Denise 
Crosby in issue #130, which ironically hit the 
stands about the same time it was announced in 
the entertainment press that her character, Tasha 
Yar, would be killed off late in the first season of 
Star Trek: The Next Generanon^atid that the 
parting of the ways was her idea. In Crosby's own 
words, she vyas just "a glorified extra'' on the 
show. While watching the first few episodes, 1 
latched onto both the character and the actress at 
once. Lt. Yar was a strong, yet sensitive woman in 
a challenging job, lough and resourceful, yet 

(continued on page 28} 



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Another actress is departing the world 
of Star Trek: The Next Generation, 
Reached at presstime, a spokesperson for 
Gates McFadden connrmed that the actress 
is leaving the syndicated TV series. 

"Gates McFadden will not be with Star 
Trek next year," the spokesperson told 
STARLOG's Marc Shapiro. And for what 
reasons, why is she leaving? "No 
comm'ent," was the reply, at this time. 

In an interview in STARLOG #127, 
McFadden expressed satisfaction with her 
Next Generation role as Dr. Beverly 
Crusher. But according to Denise Crosby 
(see page 29), who left the series in the 
spring, and Marina Sirtis (STARLOG #126, 
133), the series' female regulars have been, 
in genera], not totally pleased with their 
roles. Others have cited the thinness of the 
female characters and their under-utilization 
in storylines. 

At presstime, with the writers' strike still 
unsettled, it was not specifically known how 
the series' creative personnel would account 
for Dr. Crusher's absence, although a Para- 
mount spokesperson indicated the character 
would be noted as "off on another mission 
for another starship'^ in one of the second 
season's initial episodes. A new doctor— as 
yet uncasi—will replace Crusher, whether 
human (male or female) or alien had not 
been decided. Wesley Crusher, portrayed by 
Wll Wheaion, will remain with the series. 

Additionally, the Paramount spokesper- 
son reported that STARLOG had been the 
first press of any kind to contact the studio 



has trid 

adieu to 

The Next 


re: this matter (in late May). It was expected, 
however, that other media (a la TV Guide, 
Entertainment Tonight) will announce the 

subject prior to this issue's publication date. 

Updates: Outer Heat has been retitied. It's 

now AlienNation. Premiere date of the 

James Caan/Mandy Patinkin SF cop thriller 

is now August 26. For Caan's thoughts on its 
making, see page 45. ' 

Release of Fright Night— Part 2 and 
Pumpkinhead have been pushed back 
again— to f^, just in time for the Halloween 
horror sweepstakes. 

Cocoon: The Return really does regroup 
the first film's entire cast. In addition to 
everyone else previously reported, also back 
are Barret {Neverending Story) Oliver 
(STARLOG #97), Linda Harrison, Mike 
Nomad and Tyrone Power, Jr. The script is 
by Stephen McPherson based on a story by 
McPherson and Elizabeth Bradley, Cocoon: 
The Return debuts this Christmas, 

Lou Hirsch— not Stubby Kaye, as Amblin 
Entertainment had noted—voices Baby Her- 
man in Who Framed Roger Rabbit^ The un- 
credited actress voicing Jessica Rabbit— as 
finaily reported elsewhere— is Kathleen 
Turner, who starred m Robert Zemeckis' 
Romancing the Stone. 

Genre TV: CBS added no new genre series 
to its schedule, though some (hke the time 
travel adventure Jake's Journey) are still 
under consideration as midseason back-ups. 
CBS, however, did renew fieaw/^(£f/?^5^£?s^ 
which continues in its Friday 8 p.m. time slot. 

ABC followed suit, adding nothing new of 
SF interest. Report on Earth (also known by 
other titles), previously bought by ABC, is 
not on the fall slate and must be considered a 
mid-season starter. As its title suggests, it 
focuses on aliens who visit Earth and conduct 
a sort of running caustic commentary on 
human habits. ABC, of course, axed Max 
Headroom, Sable and Once a Hero and 
decided not to pick up Starman (on which it 
held some type of vague option to revive). 

To no one*s surprise, NBC retired The 
High wayman. The network did order a series 
version of its hit mini-series Something is Out 
There, Joe Cortese and Maryam D*Abo 
(STARLOG YEARBOOK ff2) return for 
more hunt -them -aliens excitement Fridays at 
9 p.m. NBC is also now the home of the re- 
formulated Disney Hour (Sundays, 7 p,m.), 
which includes a once-a-month Absent- 
Minded Professor yarn (starring Night 
Court's Harry Anderson). NBC had also 
commissioned The Jim Henson Hour, but 
this anthology series (which would include 
The Storyteller and other fantasy elements), 
wasn^t on the fall schedule, either, being 
designated as a mid-season contender. 

The writer's strike, still unsettled at 
presstime, was expected to delay season 

AMson Doody takes on Indiana Jones In 
the sequel. 

premieres of most TV fare to Oclober^s end 
or later. 

People: Daphne {Spacebalts) Zuniga 
(STARLOG #123) stars in The Fly II with 
Eric (Mask) Stoltz. And it's Alison Doody, 
who played Jenny Flex in A View to a Kill, 
who gets to be the good-bad girl in Indiana 
Jones and the Last Crusade. 

Dolph {Masters of the Universe) Lundgren 
is supposed to be the alien, albeit one in 
human form, in Man to Man^ to be directed 

(continued on page 64) 


All dates for these SF/fantasy/hor- 
ror/animation films are extremely 
subject to change. Movies deemed especially 
tentative are denoted by asterisks. Changes 
are reported in Medialog '"Updates." 

August: Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The 
Dream Master, The Blob, Tucker, She's 
Back, Phantasm II, The Kiss* , Hot to Trot, 
AlienNation, Mac & Me. 

Fall: The Dream Demon, Out of the 
Dark, Robojox*, Vampire's Kiss, Warlock, 
Elvira, Mistress of Dark, Deep Six, High 
Spirits, Waxwork*, Fright Night 2. 

September: Mr. Christmas Dinner*, 
Parents, Twins, Hellhound: Hellraiser II. 

October: Halloween IV, They Live, Lair 
of the White Worm, Child's Play, The Wit- 
ching Hour, Pumpkinhead, Watchers*. 

November: Scrooged* , Witch Hunt, 
Oliver t& Company. 

Christmas: Cocoon II: The Return, Land 
Before Time Began*, My Stepmother is an 

Spring 1989: Second Sight, Millennium, 
The Fly II, The Punisher, The Adventures 
of Baron Munchausen*, Spider-Man*, 

Summer 1989: Back to the Future II* , In- 
diana Jones III, Star Trek V, The Barman*, 
The Abyss, License Revoked, Grounded. 

Winter 1989: The Little Mermaid. 

n was the perfect automotitle, but the wrong time, it was a dream machine, but the 
nightmarish intrigues of business and politics sabotaged its production. And now If s 
the subject of Francis Ford Coppola's Lucasfiinv Tucker, opening this month. Three 
SF vets Stan Martin {Space: 1999) Landau as Tucker's buslrwss partner At» Karalz; 
Lloyd {Rocketship X-M) Bridges as Senator IHomer Ferguson, the man who helped put 
Tucker out of business; and Bridges' reai-life actor son Jeff (Starman} Bridges as the 
innovative entrepreneur Preston Tucker- 


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'*{ talk to Number Five and treat him just 
as I would any of the other actors," 
Johnson continues, tongue somewhat In 
cheek. *'Wc discu-is the kind of emotion 1 
want him to convey. I gel his thoughts about 
his motivation, and how he would feel 
about making a particular move at a par- 
ticular lime. 

We have philosophical discussions 
about the best way to play a parllcular scene 
and sometimes, we disagree. But the nice 
thin^ about Johnny Five is that he doesn't 
go storming off to hi^ motor home and sulk! 

^^Shorf Circuit^*' Johnson conlinues, 
''was very successful and very magical, 
though clearly geared toward a younger au- 
dience. Some of i( was a little less mature 
than rd like. In this film, as Number Five 
gains in maturity, the film's tone does also. 

He provides more input to educate 
Number Five, America's cutest (?) robot, 
as the "Short Circuit" story grinds on. 

W I y first motion picture features a slar who is naked throughout the en- 
. * ^ lire showl" declares direclor Kenneth Johnson as he discusses his 
_\_4_J latest project. Short Circuit 2: More Input. That star, of course, is 
Number Five, a.k.a. 'Mohnny Five," whose debut in Short Circuit two years 
ago, catapulted him to fame as a 'living'' machine. 

'*There*s a tremendous reality about Number Five," says Johnson. "Wiih 
all the puppeteers really co-ordinated together, he makes you believe that he's 
just another actor on the sel. There was one day when, for one reason or 
another, we started singing 'When You Wish Upon a Star/ and the robot sang 
the whole thing, as though he were you or me. just standing there performing. 
it was magical, that's the thing about Number Five, he really is inagicaL 


''The trick is to maintain the magic 
without letting it slip into un belie vabitily, 
particularly in terms of the characters. You 
can't let anyone slip into caricature, no 
silliness at all. That's what we're trying to do 
here, keep the sequel as realistic as possible, 
more realistic than the first picture, so it'll 
have more appeal to an older audience. 
"This film has a Frank Capra quality. It's 
about the process of growing up 
and discovering that people aren'l 
always what they seem. It's essentially 
about an innocent coming into a sophis- 
ticated arena and having to deal with it 
and not lose that simplicity and charm 
that he started with." 

Johnson feels that there is a 
stream of coniinuily between this 
movie and the work thai he has 
done for television. ''There's a 
grea( similarity between The 
'^^'^ Incredihte Hulk, The Bionic 
H'oman ^nii S/tort Circuit 2," he 
maintains, ''because they're all on 
the edge of fantasy. In most of the work 
that I've done in television, I've been suc- 
cessful in taking a fantasy element such as 
an incredible Hulk or a bionic woman, or 
aliens from beyond, and surrounding them 
with reality. Geoi^e Bums once told me that 

if youVe going to tell a lie, put as much truth 
into it as you can. 

'*Vou have to make a fantasy element like 
Number Five blend into reality so that we 
say, 'Yeah, I believe that cou/d happen ■' '* 

Shot by Shot 

Perhaps it's this "believable" approach to 
stories that explains why the studio chose 
Johnson, a first-time fdm director, to bring 
Ih^r expensive sequel to the screen. "I had 
done a lot of work in TV," Johnson ex- 
plains, ^*for my friend Jeff Sagansky who 
heads Tn-Star Pictures. Jeff and 1 had been 
trading projects for about a year, trying to 
find one that 1 liked and that he liked, I was 
in the midst of developing another picture 
entirely for Tri-Star when they asked me if i 
would do this one. 

''My first reaction was no, 1 didn't really 
want to do a sequel, and the script, for my 
taste, wasn't really something that I wanted 
to do first time out. I said no three or four 
limes before we finally worked out an ar- 
rangement whereby they would delay the 
other picture that 1 was already developing if 
I would do this one first. Also, they gave me 
free reign to go through the script to beef up 
its humanity and realism and make if a little 
more lo^cai and a little less broad." 

Confesses Ken Johnson (center), "I treat 
Number Five as I woulcT' Michael McKean, 
Fisher Stevens and Cindy GIbb. 

With coniracts signed and polished script 
in hand, Johnson was faced wilh his debut 
as a feature film director, **What*s supposed 
to happen on pictures," he confides, "is 
that you have more time to produce ihc 
same amount of footage or screen lime. For 
a two-hour movie for television, normally 
you would have 24 or 25 days of filming, if 
you're lucky. For Shon Circuit 2, we had 64 
days, which seems like a lot, almost three 
limes as much. But the first Short Circuit 
was shot in 100 days. What has happened 
on this picture is that I've been scrambling 
almost as much as I would on a television 
pace, just to get the film in the can, because 
ol' the effects and the complexities of the 
robot stunts, 

"I always shot television as though I were 
shooting features. Most directors in televi- 
sion, and especially guys who do hundreds 
of episodic shows, which I don't do— I've 
only done movies for television and mini- 
series— they tend to shoot close-ups on 
everything. I always play many things in 
two-shots or wider shoes because that, to 
me, looks better on a theatrical movie 
screen. Most of the television work that Tve 
done has been shot as though 1 was doing a 

"Tve always had a sort of feature men- 
tality, even when 1 was in television, I was 

PETER BLOCH'HANSEN is a Canadian- 
based writer who has contributed to 
FA NGORIA. He previewed Short C\rcu\i 2: 
More Input in STARLOG ^133. 

12 STAKLOG/September 1988 

Johnson had no defense against a rampaging Hulk 

(Lou Fenigno) until he armed himself with elements 
from Victor Hugo's Les Miserabhs. 

If It hadn*t been for War and Peace, Johnson admits, 
Julie's (Faye Grant) stand against the Visitors might 
not have been as successful. 

able 10 learn — experimetil and try things. I 
guess 1 look at television as a sort of 
graduate school with pay." 

In looking back on his work for the small 
screen, Johnson is proud of his ac- 
complishments. "I don't think comic books 
per se, can do well on television. The In- 
credible Hulk was one of the rare ones that 
was successful. Look at the successful TV 
series that came from comic books. Super- 
man, for example, back when we were kids, 
that would /7^v£'rwork now. If you look al it 
now, it's ridiculous. Balman succeeded 
because it became a camp classic at the time, 
but beyond that, Spider-Man, and other 
ihijigs ihat have come from comics have no/ 
been thai successful. What made The Hulk 
different was its psychological base. 

''Reactions to the Hulk were fascinating 
to mc. In the first year, adults would say. 
That's my kids' favorite show.' In the se- 
cond, adults would say, i watch that show 
with my kids and it's really good.' In Jhe 
third year, they were comfortable enough to 
say, 'I really like that show.' They realized 
that he wasn't just a big green monster going 
around knocking things around and' that 
there was a real, solid underpinning. 

"The underpinning was based on Les 
Miserables, Victor Hugo and Robert Louis 
Stevenson, plus the psychological overtones 
of the 20lh century. There was something 

there. Something was going on. We had 
labored, as we did in Short Circuit 2, to 
make the script as believable as humanly 
possible. I always say, that if it's not on the 
page, it's not on the stage. It starts with the 
writing. If the writing is good, and con- 
sistently good, then the audience will slay 
with you, but if the writing gets silly, then 
they'll say. i donH believe that! That's 
dumb,' and they'll go away. 

''Now, there have certainly been many 
TV shows that were dumb and silly and that 
have succeeded and been on the air for 
decades in some cases, but the ones that 1 
care about are those that have some 
substance and believabilily to them." 

Book by Book 

As Johnson noted in a previous interview 
(STARLOG #105), he derives of his 
inspiration from literature; Sinclair Lewis' It 
Can't Happen Here, for example, provided 
him with important ideas for '*K"**Yeah," 
says Johnson shyly, "I read a lot. 1 see many 
films too, and Tm always looking for ideas 
to be generated by things that 1 see. 1 sat 
down, for example, about four years ago to 
read [Leopold Tolstoy's] War and Peace. 1 
had never read it. It's very intimidating, 
1,200 pages, but I did it. It wab absolutely 
wonderful, at the time, but a year later when 
I sat down to write 'V,\ I realized that if I 

hadnU read Tolstoy, 1 wouldn't have been 
able to write T' nearly as well as I did. To 
inter-relate so many characters is difficult 
but, because I had had a chance to study 
how Tolstoy had created and inter-related so 
many characters, it was easier. 

''I was in ihe middle of re-reading Les 
Miserables when [then-Universal execl 
Frank Price asked me to do The Incredible 
Hulk. That's where that connection came 
from, 1 said no to Frank, but then I realized 
that if I could put some Jean Vaijean and 
Inspector Javert in it, and go back to those 
classical elements, I could make it work. 

"When 1 think of Short Circuii 2, 1 think 
a lot of Victor Hugo. Number Five is, in 
many ways like Quasimodo, because he has 
an aberrant exterior — in Quasimodo's case, 
he was a hunchback, in Number Fivers case, 
he's a robot. But inside, he's a pure soul: 
he's like the Elephant Man. So, there arc 
those aspects of it that suit me. 

"This film has much to say about how 
"people look on the outside, versus how they 
really arc on the insid^. There's a scene 
where we played that out: Ben explains to 
Number Five that when people look at him, 
they see a machine, and that's what they ex- 
pect him to be. They expect him to fall into 
that stereotype. They have to learn that it's 
what you are on the inside that's important. 

(continued on page 58) 

SXAR1.0Q/ September 1988 13 


Compiled & Edited by Eddie Berganza 

The Fan Network invites coniribuiions 
from readers: photos, cartoons^ convention 
and fanzine repons and news about fan organiza- 
tions and activities. No fiction or poetry. Nothing 
can be returned unless accompanied by a se!f- 
addressed* stamped envelope. Address all cor- 
respondence to: Eddie Berganza, STARLOG Fan 
Network, 475 Park Avenue South, New York, 
NY I0016. 


Visitors to New York City this summer 
will find that the Big Apple has more in 
store for them than the Empire State 
Building and the Statue of Liberty: the sec- 
ond annual Film Forum Summer Festival of 
Fantasy & Science Fiction. 

Beginning on Friday, July 29 and conti- 
nuing through Thursday, September 8, New 
York's Film Forum 2 is presenting a six- 
week series of 58 rarely-shown fantasy/sci- 
ence fiction feature films, plus short subjects 
and a running serial. Most will be 35mm 
prints, with only a handful repealed from 
last year's celebration. 

The series will kick off with a revival of 
The Blob (1959). the science-fiction movie 
that introduced Steve McQueen, director !r- 
vin Yeaworth Jr. (a Methodist minister who 
branched out from evangelical films in order 
to make money), producer Jack Harris 
(FANGORIA #53) songwriters Burt 

Bacharach and Hal David (who had their 
first major hit with the title song), and that 
hungry hunk of red glop from outer space. 
Producer Harris has prepared a brand new 
full color 35mm print especially for this 
engagement. The existing Blob prints long 
ago faded to^black, white and red, so this 
new one — the first struck since the film's 
original release — will be a revelation to fans. 
Forum-goers will be able to compare the 
original with the remake that Harris has just 
produced, set to ooze into theaters this sum- 
mer (see page 23). 

The Blob will headline an entertainment - 
packed opening bill that also includes Ray 
Harryhausen*s SF thriller Earth vs. the Fly- 
ing Saucers (1956); the opening extra-length 
chapter of the 12'part Adventures of Cap- 
tain Marvel serial (the 1 1 remaining episodes 
will be shown throughout the festival); and 
the world premiere of "Night of the Living 
Duck", the newest Daffy Duck cartoon. 

Other Ray Harryhausen films to be 
screened include: The First Men in the 
Moon (1964), which will play on August I; 
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958) on 
August 6; and Jason and the Argonauts 
(1963), which can be sedn in a new 35mm 

High concept was alive and well in the 

*605 when iiluslon-O brought you the 13 

G/iosts. Now, Film Forum takes another 

nostalgic look at this gimmicky flick. 








^ ^ \ 

CHAMS mm ■ JG MQ^w ■ mm mm 


Quesriona aboui tht cons lined? 
Plcai^c iend a self -addressed, 
iiamped envebpc [O Ihe address 
listed for [he con, Conv^ntmneefS, 
l!k'tj\t: nu/f" Send ali pertineni info 
no laler ihan J months prior to ihc 
cvcni {a STARLOG Convenlion 
Calendar, 475 Park Ave. Soulh^ 
Ni:* Vorfc. NY I0OI6. STARLOG 
makes no guaraniec5j due lo space 
limiEaiions, ihai your con w/i be 
lisied here. This is a/ree service: io 
ensure a liscing in f he 
majiazinc— floJ here but 
elsewhere— coniaci Connie BanleTi 
(21 2-689' 28 30) for classifed ad raies 
& advi'Tfise in ihc classified section. 



Aiijiusl 5-7 
Hy*\[ Ovk Brook 
Ouk Brook, IL 

Scorpio 6 
P.O. Box 397 
MiJIoihian, IL 60445 

■HiarWi rg M tfT i^ 




- -'^± 

. _ -.ii.ViV*- 

Auifu^l S-7 
Holidiij Inn Cenlml 
Omaha, NE 
Oinji;on 8 
P.O. Box 37851 
Omaha, NE68IJ7' 

iM\tmm^tJ^^ ... 



Aii^uiil 7 

Hobday Inn Airport 

Purlland, OR 


145 Jecitho Turnpike 

Mineola, NY 11501 

(5161 SHOWMAN 

Gucii: William Shainer 


Aujiiisi ll-\4 "fVhq 

Airporl EfiTton '' 

Grund Hapii]^. Ml 

liabel Con X ^^-... 

c/o Sieve Harrison 

1355 Cornell, S.E, 

Grand Rapids, Ml 

49506-4001 '"^ 

Feature: Aquatic Cinema — 

Crevi are from the Biack Lagoon 

in 3-D in hold's poolf 


Au^iisl 13-14 

Sij^naiur? Inn 

Tcrrt Hauie, JN ■.irntaet. 

Terra Con One 

P,0, Box 165 flra;il 

Braiil. IN 47834 

GuC'^iS- Mark Lenard, Bruce H3'de 

& Jean Lorrah 





AujjusI 12-U jF 

Ramada 400/401 
Turuniit, Onrario, Canada 

Toronto Trek Cetebrarion 

P,0, Box l\ ^ 

Siaiion '0" 

Toronio. Omario M4A 2Ma #fi^*^ 

Guesis: Diane Duanc & PcTer 

Morwood ,„,^ ,^^,^„ 


Au^usl 1Z-14 

Park Terrace Airport HIIIod Hold 

SU LciuD, Ml 
Tardiscon 8S 
P.O. Box 333 
Si. Louis, Ml 63188 
c/oSl. Loui^ C.l.A. Inc. 
(BOO) 345-5500 or 346-5500 
Guesis: Michael Kealing^ Colin 
Baiter Si John Lecson 



Au^usl 12-14 
Shfralon Inn Airport 

Purriand. OR 

Con V 

P.O, Boi 5703 

PoTiland, OR 97228 

(503)2361366 01281-8183 

Gucsi: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro 


August 19-21 
V'i>flB InlernHlional Hotel 
Nkw York. NY 
Dark Shadows Fesiival 
P.O. Box 92 
Maple wood, NJ 07040 
Guesis: Jonaihan Ft id, Joan Ben- 
nett, Kaihryn Leigh Scoir, Rogw 
Davis & ijcher casl members. 


Au^tusT 20-21 
Hotel TBA 
Houblun. TX 
BuJIdog Productions 
P,0. Box 8204Sa 
Dallas, TX 753BZ 




Augu^ :2U-2l 
Ea^I^^lc Mall 
ChatUuuo^a. TN 
Amaiing World of Fantasy 
1922 Shoner Avenue 
Rome, GA 30161 
Afier 6 p,in,(*>4J 234-5309 


August 2^29 

Imernanonal SF Association of 


Hungarian Chapier 

Budapest VL. Bajza U. 18 



August 27-28 

Lu» AnKel» Hilton S^ Towera 

Lu-i An^ele^t CA 
Creaiion (address above) 
(516) SHOWMAN 
Guests: Jane Badler Sl 
David Pro*sc 



Septemhtr l-S 
92t Canal Street 
,Ne^ Orleans, LA 70112 
Gue^l; Donald A. WoUheim 


September 3-4 

Hi^idAv Inn International l^rive 

Orlando^ FL 

Trek on Orlando '88 

1788 N,E, I63td Street 

N. Miami Beach, FL JJ162 

{V)S} 940-9539 

Guests; Nichelle Nichols & 

Mtchad Dorn 


Seplembef 9-11 

P.O. Box 11743 
PhoaiiK. AZ 85061 


September 10-11 
Rockefeller Empire Stale PUua 
Conveikiion Center 
Alban), NY 

FaniaCo Enterprises Inc. 
2 J Central Avenue 
Albany, NY 12210-1391 
[518)463-1400 k- 

*' J * 


Sepltmber 10-14 *' * 

Cunurd Princess 

Monterey. CA 

Crui^ a la Trek 

177 Webster, ffa-3756 

Monlerey. CA 93940 


Guests: Waller Kocnig, Mark 

Lenaid. Grace Lee Whiincy, Bibi 

Bcsi-'h, William Campbell. Jimmy 

Doohan St Majel Barrett 

print on August 24. As a bonus for stop- 
motion fans, the original version of Jack [he 
Giant Killer {1%2), with anim^on by Jim 
Danforlh, Dave Pal and Phil Kellison. 
screens on August 24. 

MGM has supplied new 35mm 
CinemaScope prints of the ultra-classic For- 
bidden Planet (1956) for August 1 and the 
ultra-campy Queen of Outer Space (1958) 
for August 25. 

Another treasure is the rarely-revived 
Technicolor fantasy The 5,000 Fingers of 
Dr. 7" (1953), the only feature-length movie 
written by Dr. Seuss, which will be paired 
with George Pal's The Seven Faces of Dr. 
Lao (1964), based on the book by Charles 
G. Finney and featuring stop-motion effects 
by Jim Danforth, on August 10, 

Four films by William Cameron Menzies 
are included. H.G. Wells* Things to Come 
(1936) in a very rare, complete 35mm print 
and Chandu the Magician (1932) can both 
be viewed on August 15. Invaders from 
Mars (1953) is featured on September 4. The 
Maze (1953) will be shown in 3-D. Other 
3-D films during the festival include House 
of Wax (1953), playing September 16-18, 
The Mask (1961) and Third Dimension 
Murder (1941), both of which can be found 
leaping off the screen on September 21 and 
22. Paradisio ( 1 962) can be seen on 
September 20. Robert Lansing lakes us into 
an extra dimension with The 4D Man (1959) 
on September 20. 

Fritz Lang*s Metropolis (1926) will be 
shown in Giorgio Moroder*s visually- 
stunning reconstruction, with a choice of 
live piano accompaniment or Moroder's 

much-maligned 1984 score at different per t 
formances, double-billed on August 22 with |* 
Lang's Woman in the Moon (1929), which5 
was banned by the Nazis while their rocket | 
experiments were in progress. 

Look also for Andrei Tarkovsky's second 
venture into science fiaion in Stalker (1979), 
screened with a beautiful new 35mm print 
on August 20 and 21. SF/fantasy with an 
Oriental slant is represented with the Shaw 
Brothers' Hong Kong production Infra- 
Man (1976), and from the creator of God- 
zilla, The H-Man (1958), on August 17. The 
Japanese answer to Star Wars^ Message 
from Space (1978), is coupled with one of 
Japan's best all-animated SF features, 
Galaxy Express 999 (1979) on September 6. 

The last two weeks of the festival feature 
a number of rarely seen gimmick flicks, 
which will be screened with their original 
theatrical gimmicks. YES! Experience the 
Fear Flasher and the Horror Horn with 
Chamber of Horrors (1966)! See 13 Ghosts 
(1960) with rilusion-O viewers! Feel The 
Tinglerm spine-tingling Percepto! Will you 
be in your seat after Fright Break— or 
groveling in the Coward's Corner during 
Homicidal (1961)? Take the Punishment 
PoU with Mr. Sardonicus (1961)! Catch the 
full bouquet of John Waters* Polyester 

A complete calendar of the festival's 58 
films is available at the theater. Film Forum 
2 is located at 57 Watts Street, two blocks 
north of Canal at Sixth Avenue in Manhat- 
tan, box office (212) 431-1590. This is the 
way classics were meant to be seen. 

^David Hutchison 

Festhfalgoers will get a choice of seeing 
Giorgio Moroder*s restoration of Metropolis 
with or without his rock score. 


SepU^mher 16-1* 
Holiday Inn Wrsllake 
WoMlake. UH 
P.O Box5fr4l 
Cleveland. OH 44101 
Guusl^: A.C. Crispin St 
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ikpLeinlKr 16- IS 
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Sep rem her 17-18 
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GucsLa: Robert A^pu-in» 
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Scplember 24-Z5 

U Baron Hold 

San Jose. CA ^ 


(516) SHOWMAN 

Guesi: Deniie Crosby 


Scplembej- 25 
Shiepperlon Moal House 
llngUnd. UK 

Scar Trek Convenlion 
c/o Mr&, Claire Saunders 
Ash ford, Middx 
TWI5, JSX, England 



October 2 
Hulida> Inn 
DayiOD, OH 

Midwesi Space Dcvelopmeni Corp. 
P O. Box 6327 
Cleveland, OH 44101 



October 7.* 

Rovacon 13 

P.O. Boji 117 

Salem, VA 24153 

(703) 3S9-9400 

Guesis: Mark Lenard. ChrisTophet 

Scasheff, KeUy Freas, HaJ Clemen: 

& Julian May 


OcLober 7-9 

Plerremonl HoM 
Ailanu, GA 
P.O. Box 47699 
AUania. GA 30362 
Gut^EE: Alan Dean Foster 
& Fred Saberhagen 


JHi»""I "^ --^^T^-^^^^ « 


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Millwood, NY 10546 

Guests: Denise Crosby, Grace Lee 

Whitney & STARLOG Editor 

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Ociober 21-23 
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October 21-23 

p,o. Box noi 

Bethany. OK 7300S 
GuesE: Ociavia Butler 

Ofiober 21-23 

Holiday Inn-A^tey Plaza 

Tampa, FL 

Necronomicon f^vijj 
P,0, Box 2076 
Rivervicw, FL 33569 
Guests: Alan Dean Foster 
& Timothy Zahn 



October 21-23 

tMa«4 Campus Center 

Amhenl, MA 

Noiju^ (another 4 Con 


RSO 104 

University of Massachusetts 

Amherst. MA 01003 

Guesis: Shirley Maiewski 

&. Hal CLemenI 



October 21-24 
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Wanganul, North Island, 
Nei4 ZtaJand 
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Guest: David Gertold 


October 22-23 

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gu?s[ TBA & Editor DavhJ 

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November 4-6 

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November 5-6 

Kkfaland Count} Fairgrounds 

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c/o The March of Dimes 

614 Superior Avenue NW. 

Suire 200 

Cleveland, OH 

■*STARLOC*s Birthday Fantasy," 
a l5-minu[e I6ii]m color film, Is 
available for screening ai your con- 
vention, schools or club. 
Organizers, write for details! 
"STARLOC's Birthday Fantasy,'* 
475 Park Avenue South, NYC 
10016, or (England) contact Pamda 
Barnes, c/o Fanderson, P.O. Box 
308, London W4 IDL. 






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hroughoui history, there have been 
individuals who have claimed powers 
beyond the normal range of human 
experience. Whatever they might be 
called— psychic, clairvoyant, paranor- 
mal^such people have always attracted the 
attention of their less-gifted peers. And the 
public's fascination— or dread— continues 
today. In May, government agencies in Los 
Angeles were besieged with calls because of 
an alleged earthquake prediction by the 16th 
century seer Nostradamus. 

Psychic phenomena form a major plot 
device in Vibes, the new FX-laden comedy- 
adventure starring Jeff {7"/i^F/>')Goidb!nm, 
Peter {The Princess Bride) FaJk and rock 
star Cyndi Lauper. The Columbia Pictures 
offering is scripted by Lowell Ganz and 
Babaloo Mandel— whose writing credits in- 
clude Tfie Odd Couple and Happy Days as 
well as Spfash^axid, features speciaJ FX 
from Richard {The Boy Who Could Fly) 
Ediund's BFC. 

Like so many movies. Vibes underwent 
many changes before a single frame of Him 
was ever exposed. And no one is in a better 
position to detail its history than its director. 
Ken Kwapis, He*s no stranger to unusual 
themes; one of his last big-screen outings 
was Foiiow that Bird, that feathered fable 
about Sesame Streef^s Big Bird. 

Although he has many things on his 
mind— including fevered preparations for a 
Spanish vacation— Kwapis doesn't mind 
pausing to talk about his movie. "What I 
like about Vibes,^' Kwapis begins, **is that 
it's a real pastiche of a film; one part roman- 
tic comedy, one part slapstick, one part FX 

Pressed for plot details, the director con- 
tinues, "The story is about two psychics, 
Sylvia Pickel, played by Cyndi Lauper, and 
Nick f otemkin (Jeff Goldblum). At first, 
they lake a dislike to one another. But later, 
they're both hired by Harry Buscafusco 
{Peter Falk) to help find a lost Inca city high 
in the Andes. During the course of many 
adventures, Nick and Sylvia fall in love/' 

Kwapis confirms reports that Vibes was 
originally conceived as a Dan Aykroyd vehi- 
cle. In fact, Kwapis landed his job as direc- 
tor with Aykroyd's approval. '*Yes," he 
acknowledges, *'Dan was already aboard 
the movie when I was hired, Aykroyd met 
me, liked me, and gave his OK for me to 
guide the picture. But when we started 
casting, outside complications arose that 
prevented Dan from continuing." 

Aykroyd's influence can stJlJ be seen on 

Sylvia (Cyndi Laupe^ points the way to 

Mgh (elovatlon) adventures, wrtille Nick (Jeff 

Goldblum) and Harry (Peter Falk) try to 

pick up on those same Vibes* 

Psychics Jeff Goldblum & Cyndi Lauper get 
good "Vibes" as they probe the past & poke 

fun at the present. 

ST\RLOG/September 1988 17 

Will Nick (Goldblum) and Sylvia (Laupei) have to call on Louise the spirit to get them 
out of Raiders-esque peril or will the screenwriters and director Kwapis do? 

the final shooting script. The director disa- 
vows any direct knowledge of how the story 
was assembled, yet feels **it*s the kind of 
part that would attract Dan. There's a kind 
of emphasis on technical doublelalk for 
Nick*s character — a kind of doubletalk that 
Dan did so well and so hilariously in 

Future Predictions 

Since Vibes is an action /adventure as well 
as a romantic comedy, the film invites in- 
evitable comparisons with such illustrious 
predecessors as Raiders of the Lost Ark and 
Romancing, the Stone, The only way to 
avoid such comparisons — or at least defuse 
them — was to change the movie's setting 
and give Vibes its own strong identity and 

"There's no point in trying to compete 
with such movies as Raiders on their own 
level/* the helmsman reasons, "but one 
thing 1^/6^5 had going for it was an emphasis 
on mysticism- I thought a good way to rein- 
force this was to place the story in the 
Andes — a locale that's high altitude, cool, 
with 'mysterious' clouds rolling in, as op- 
posed to the lowland rain forests of Raiders 
and Romancing. To me, the latter places 
symbolize sweat, heat and blood sacrifice/* 

A good portion of Vibes was lensed on 
location in South America, but eariy drafts 
of the script were set in Peru. This made 

correspondent, examined the FX of Dace 
with an Angel in issue H132. 

18 SJKKLOG/ September 1988 

sense, since Peru was the heanland of an- 
cient Inca civilization and the home of 
Machu Picchu. real-life prototype for the 
movie's fictional lost city. But Columbia ex- 
ecs had second thoughs due to Peru's 
reputation for guerrilla violence. Neighbor- 
ing Ecuador was chosen as a more stable 
substitute for Vibes' high-altitude hijinks. 

The Ecuadorian government extended 
full cooperation. '*We traveled to Cuenca, 
the third largest city in the country, which is 
about 12,000 feet above sea level. In fact, we 
went deep into the Andes, and brought back 
a film look you won't Hnd in any other 
movie this year!" 

Kwapis gives unstinting praise to his prin- 

cipals, Goldblum, Lauper and Falk. Once 

Aykroyd bowed out> the director feels Col- 
umbia scored a casting coup by signing Jeff 
Goldblum (STARLOG tf%5). ^^The 
beautiful thing about Jeff," Kwapis com- 
ments, ''is he has an ability to make psychic 
scenes so real. Technically, his character is a 
psychometric— a psychic who can detect a 
person's whole history simply by touching 
an object associated with that person. It's a 
very hard thing for an actor to pick up a 
prop and convince an audience he's getting 
a vibration that's giving him all sorts of in- 
formation, yet Jeff succeeds brilliantly. 

Nick (Jeff Goldblum) and Sylvia (Cyndi 
LaupeO may not know what they've got 
their hands on, but director Kwapis is 
certain that it*5 not an alien artifact. 

"For example, there's a scene where Jeff 
picks up several knives one by one as pari of 
a psychic experimenl. One of the knives was 
used in a murder, and he immediately senses 
this and throws the object down. He gasps, 
and is very shaken, because the information 
he has just received is loo strong for him. 
It's a powerful momeni--yci it's also the 
sei-iip for a wonderful joke. He's so 
distraughi he lays his head down on the 
table, but suddenly gets a new >ibe' and 
springs up, shouting, *Someone'shad J'^A:on 
this table!' " 

Casting Cyndi Lauper was a major gam- 
ble, but Kwapis maintains it paid off hand- 
somely in a powerhouse performance. Few 
rock stars have successfully made the transi- 

-lion from concert stage to silver screen. But 
from the moment she stepped on the set, the 
director felt he had someone special. As he 
explains, ''When 1 first met Cyndi, 1 was 
struck by her wonderfully open face. She in- 
vites people *in,' as it were. And Cyndi 
doesn't impersonate a character, she in- 
habits \i. People are going to be surprised by 

' her performance." 
. In VibeSy Lauper is not only a clairvoyant, 
she's also a trans-medium. It seems a spirit 
guide from the "other side" hovers around 
her like a misbegotten guardian angel. *The 
key to Cyndi's character is that she's a clair- 
voyant, but there's a hitch— all of her infor- 
mation comes from a spirit guide named 
Louise, Louise isn't very reliable, though, 
and sometimes is even jealous of Cyndi!" 

According to the director. Vibes is a 
romantic comedy at its core. Yet by his own 
admission, Nick and Sylvia are ^'misfits, 
socially flawed creatures who desperately 
want to be 'in.' " That statement, coupled 
with Lauper's offbeat public persona, 
makes the two leads the oddest romantic 
pairing since Fay Wray was swept off her 
feet by King Kong. **Yeah/' Kwapis 
chuckles, "what with Jeff's height and Cyn- 

Cyndi Lauper gets a lift up the mountains of 
Kwapis, and co-stars Ronald Joseph, Googy 

di's hair color, I thought i was directing Big 
Bird again! But there are moments in this 
picture that are as good as any romantic 
comedy of the 1930s." 

Veteran actor Peter Faik added just the 
right spice to the cinematic souffle. "Jeff 
and Cyndi make this wonderful screwball 
couple/' Kwapis elaborates, "but when 
Peter arrives on the scene, the chemistry 
goes out of whack a bit and it becomes pure 
Marx Brothers. They^re a strange trio, yet 
they all play off each other so well. Peter is a 
good actor, but tough. If he doesn't like 
something in the script, he'll fight for 
changes. He insists upon the right to be 
spontaneous take after take.'^ 

''Jeff and Cyndi make this wonderful screwball couple," says director Kwapis. "There 
aie moments in this picture that are as good as any romantic comedy of the 1930s." 

Ecuador from (I. to r.) director Ken 
Gress, Julian Sands and Jeff Goldblum. 

Past Probes 

Ken Kwapis took to film at an early age. 
Armed with a Super-8 camera and a great 
deal of imagination, he was turning out 
small movies while still in high school. After 
majoring in film at Northwestern University 
in his native Illinois, and later at the Univer- 
sity of Southern California, Kwapis began 
his directing career with two ABC-TV 
After-school Speciais. An avid film buff, his 
conversation is liberally sprinkled with 
references to Hollywood's Golden Age. 

The original concept of Vibes promoted 
slam-bang FX in the Raiders of (he Lost 
Arf( tradition. Visual pyrotechnics may be 
impressive, but they're hardly cost-effective. 
Budgets become bloated as movies try to 
produce ever more spectacular thrills, '*If 
we did that/* Kwapis observes, **we would 
be merely trying to top what people had 
already seen before. 1 didn't want to do 
something that has been done before. For 
example, I eliminated a ciiffhanger sequence 
on a rope bridge. To that degree, I diminish- 
ed what was in the script.*' 

Still, Kwapis promises there wili be plenty 
of FX excitement to go around. The movie 
opens with a prologue about two intrepid 
explorers who discover the massive ruins of 
an Incan city — the same city Goldblum and 
Lauper try to relocate via psychic means. 
The ancient pile has a temple, and in that 
temple is a small pyramid-altar that throbs 
with mysterious energy. Ancient Indians 
guarded and worshipped this pulsating 
-.pyramid as the source ofhmitless knowledge 
and psychic power. Drawn like a moth to 
the flame, one of the ekplorers touches the 
altar with terrifying results. 

*'lt*s as if he put his hand on an 
ectoplasmically-charged object," Kwapis 
explains,' "because the pyramid isn't really 
sohd. The effect is like putting your hand in 

(continued on page 36) 

STARLOG/September J983 19 

What if Abbott & Costello had been shorter? 

To find out, Ricl< Overton & Kevin Polfak get 

small and silly, all for Lucasfilm adventure. 


ou know your film h in trouble 
when it *5 playing on the airplane on 
the \^uy to the premiere. " 
Don 'I get nervous, George. Rick Overton 

i^n't lobbing verbal grenades al Willow. The 
shot is at the expense of the last film he and 
fellow jokester Kevin Pollak did together, 
the ill-fated Million Dollar Mystery. 

And shots are par for the course when 
crossing swords with Overlon and Pollak, 

Sure, they're happy to be playing the rat- 
killing brownies Franjean and Rool. They're 
pleased to be in the new Ron Howard- 
George Lucas film fantasy. And they're 
more than willing to pontificate for the 

But we're talking people who five and 
breath chuckles. Overton and Pollak, have 
logged more time in comedy clubs, talk 
shows and motion pictures than most com- 
ics who hustle rimshots. Both are hip to the 
far side of science fiction. Overton has done 
a ton of conventions (including hosting 
STARLOG's Salute to Star Wars^ while 
Pollak's goofy skit Star Trek V: In Search 
of Cash has become a much-bootlegged 
item on the underground collector's circuit. 

Comics don V give pat interview answers. 
They'll probably, eventually answer your 
question. But, in the process, the interviewer 
has to wade through a sinkhole of one 
liners, innuendoes, parodies and mock ver- 
bal assaults. And in the name of not missing 
a thing, STARLOG isgoing the Q&A route. 

The scene is a Burbank sound studio 
where Overton and Pollak are overdubbing 
some last-minute brownie dialogue. They 
settle onto a couch. They open their 
mouths. Watch out for Unidentified Flying 

Their baric may be worse than their bite, 
but Overton and Pollak's Ideas for the 
continuing adventures of the tmiwnies are 

Rick Overton thought his character Fran- 
jean was going to look like a Keebler elf, 
not a naked wanior with Don King hair. 

STARLOG: How do you psyche yourself 
up to play a brownie? 
RICK OVERTON: Hollywood is. a town 
where everybody wants you to think big. 
Kevin and i simply reversed the process and 
began to think f^rnall. 

STARLOG: How did you get the roles in 
Wil/o 11'? 

OVERTON: I had worked with Ron 
[Howard, director, STARLOG #97, 132] in 
the film Gang Ho. Ron is the kind of guy 
who lends to use people he works with over 
and over. He called me in, 1 read and was 

KEVIN POLLAK: After Rick was hired, 
they asked him who he could suggest to play 
the other brownie. He. suggested me and a 
few other guys. We all came in and read and 
did some improv stuff with Rick. Those 
readings were taped and sent to George and 
Ron who were scouting locations in 
England. 1 got the billow and MiUion 
Dofiar Mystery jobs because of Rick, so 1 
owe him both my testicles anytime he wants 
to collect. 

OVERTON: How about right after this in- 

SiARLOG: Obviously, there was more to 
playing a brownie than thinking smalt. 
POLLAK: We basically created the 
brownies from scratch. We made up the 
walk, the war cry. We even ended up 
creating stories about their past lives. 
OVERTON; Yeah, itiy character came from 
an OK. family. We weren't rich, but we did 
OK. We lived in a dead goal. One day, I 
came home and discovered thai the local 
dog had dragged the goat away, family and 
all. So, 1 was on my own. 1 did a lot of local 
theater to get by. 

POLLAK; 1 was a flea trainer with a travel- 
ing circus for years. They were pit fleas, very 

dangerous and temperamental. 1 had no for- 
mal education. I was sort of a street-smart 

STARLOG: What was your first day on the 
Willow set hke? 

POLLAK: 1 was shocked. Rick had told me 
that Ron was a comfortable director to 
work with. I was keeping a diary at the time, 
and the night before I wrote: "1 firmly 
believe 1 will gel on the set tomorrow, a 
woman will come up to me and say, *My 
name is Ellen. You'll be getting all your in- 
structions from me. At no point will you 
ever actually meet or talk with George Lucas 
or Ron Howard. They will be hiding behind 
a curtain.' '' 

OVERTON: The first day we were driven to 
a place where some scenes were being shot, 
told to go into a nearby tent and have some 
lunch. We^re going through the food line 
and, suddenly, there's George Lucas butting 
in line in front of us, trying to get to the 
ihree-bean salad. Twenty minutes later, we 
were sitting at a table with Ron and George 
joking about sequels. 

STARLOG: What was the toughest part of 
the film for you? 

OVERTON: Getting into those damned 
costumes ! We hadn 'I seen the pre- 
production an, so we thought we would be 

wearing little tailored Keebler elf outfits with 
little pointy shoes. Then, we saw the original 
art and realized we would be almost naked 
the whole time. We had to run off to a gym- 
nasium and make it burn to get into shape. 
POLLAK: Yeah, we're talking lots of 

STARLOG: Did you have any scenes with 
other actors or was your stuff primarily 
done in post-production? 
POLLAK: It was all blue screen and over- 
bed props and it was all done in post. Our 
stuff took five weeks to shoot. It was just 
Rick and me and George and Ron on a stage. 
OVERTON: It was nice being the center of 
attention, it was Mr. PoUak this and Mr. 
Overton that. Suddenly, I was a mister for 
the first time in my life. You can't shake a 
stick at that. 

STARLOG: What kind of FX did you play 
off of? 

^'OLLAK: Giant rocks. Twelve-foot tall 
blades of grass. 

OVERTON: Don^t forget that giant leather 
pouch. That was big fun! For this one scene, 
we spent hours inside this giant foam rubber 

correspondent, profiled Roy Dotrice in issue 

STARLOG/ September 1988 21 


pouch. Smoke was being blown around and 
we were inside sweating our butts off. i was 
getting real dose with my pal Kev. 
POLLAK: Yeah, we became buddies in the 
liiblical sense. 

STARLOG: What about the makeup? 
OVERTON: Jusl warpaint. No prosthetics. 
And a lot of hair that looks like Don King 
microwaved his head. 

STARLOG; Was it difficult reacting to 
things that weren't there? 
POLLAK: We had visions of getting to this 
soundstage and finding a 60-year-old 
teamster on a scaffold eating a tuna sand- 
wich, holding a flag and mumbling some 
lines that we would have to react to. For- 
tunately, Ron was the director. He's one of 
the most animated directors Tve ever work- 
ed for. He would say. "OK, we need 
something over here/' and then he would 
race over to the other side of the soundstage 
and yell, "Suddenly, they're over here." 
Then, he would run to another point and 
yell, "Now, they're swooping down here." 

22 STARLOG/ September 1988 

You couldn't help but be enthusiastic with 
that kind of direction* 
STARLOG: I understand George Lucas 
directed you in some shots? How was he as a 

POLLAK: The difference was monumental. 
Ron's favorite saying was "Perfect, let's do 
one more/' George would just calmly say 
"OK, action," or he would say, "OK, you 
start here and run over there." We would do 
it, he would say cut, turn to the cameraman 
and ask, "Do you need another one?" 
STARLOG: Did you have carte blanche to 
play around with your characters? 
POLLAK; Are you making up these ques- 
tions as you go along or did you make them 
up last night? 

OVERTON: That's what is known in the 
trade as "busting the journalist's balls.'* 
Would you mind repealing the question? 
STARLOG: Did Ron give you the chance to 
improvise on the set? 

OVERTON: Yeah, Ron deHnilely gave us 
room to play around- Because he trusted 

The Gary Grant of the brownie set? Prob- 
ably not, but all Kevin Pollak wants out of 
Wf7/ow Is the respect John Belushi 
received as Bluto in Animai House- 

our instincts, his attitude was, "Let's get a 
couple of takes according to the script and 
then let's get a couple of takes of you guys 
having fun." Bui Kevin and I both realized 
that you had to work on a new idea ahead of 
time rather than coming up with something 
on the spot because you take a real chance 
that something's going to be funny the mo- 
ment you think of it. So, we got together a 
week before filming staned and worked up 
a bunch of things we passed off as being 

STARLOG: Did much of the improv make 
the film? 

POLLAK: Yes, as a matter of fact. In fact, 
we're even improvising some new bits now 
in the looping sessions, 
STARLOG: It must have been weird play- 
ing a tiny supporting actor — 
POLLAK: Did you hear what he s^d. 
Rick? Us playing support I think this is 
definitely the brownies' film. 
OVERTON: Busting the journalist's balls, 
take two. 

STARLOG: How would you analyze the 
characters of the brownies? 
OVERTON: We're the chihuahuas of the 
humanoid species. Because we're smaller 
than everybody else, we're nervous and 
trembly. Our bark is worse than our bite. 
We try to ward off trouble by baring our 
teeth and hoping that works. 
POLLAK: Rick's character IFranjean] takes 
the mission very seriously while mine [Rool] 
seems to be doing everything possible to 
sabotage the mission but ultimately stands 
with him. 

OVERTON: The brownies are like an old 
married couple. They argue about the small 
things so they don't have to worry about 
dealing with the big ones. 
STARLOG: Is this your dream role? 

(continued on page 36) 


Haunted by its gelatinous shadow for decades, Del Close confronts 

the creeping ooze In an all-new remake. . 


el Close has spent the last 30 years 
of his life being pursued by The 
Biob. And in the lavish new remake 
of the *50s SF classic. Close's character has 
his hands full just staying alive. 

"Reverend Meeker is a traditional 
character in SF movies/' Close explains. 
"He's like ihe minister in War of the Worlds 
who says, 'We can reason with it,* and is im- 
mediately zapped and turned to powder — or 
Bud Cori*s role in the invaders from Mars 
remake, 1 think Bud has the line, 'But we 
can reason with it! It's loo valuable lo kill!' 

"At least, people will think Reverend 
Meeker is that type of character. At one 
point, he's walking toward the Blob while 
Ihe entire crew is retreating. The audience is 
all set up for this classic, cliche moment, but 
no! A nearby flame-thrower is blown up, 
and we're off on another angle instead. 

"There are several moments in this film 
where a cliche is set up — well, it doesn't 
quite work out that way. There's a 72-degree 
spin on it to send it off in another 
direction/' Close laughs. 

The new and improved Blob far out- 
slimcs the original in scope, ambition and 
special effects, both in the studio and on 
location in Abbeville, Louisiana. 

'The primary SFX folks were Drcam- 
qucst, who did opiicals and models, but we 
had other crews stopping by for a few days 
at a lime. 

**Oue day, a couple of women turned up 
in Abbeville, identifying themselves on the 
set by saying, Trozen Blob!' At first, we 
I houghi they were selling some new 
delicacy!" he says. 

Close says working with FX and a Blob- 
to-be-added-later can be unsettling. 

"Our director. Chuck [Nightmare on Etm 
Street i] Russell, told me to pretend that the 
corner of a building was the Blob, and 1 was 
to have an intimate moment with it. There 
are 300 extras running, screaming past me 

As Reverend Meeker, Del Close can't keep 
The Blob out of his life. 

towards the courthouse, and a camera 
comes zooming down the tracks into my 
face, while I'm standing there in the street, 
supposed to have an intimate moment with 
the corner of a building! 

"So, 1 never really saw the Blob, but they 
had various things to stand in for it. At one 
point, they had a card on the end of a stick 
at about 4:30 a.m., when people were start- 
ing to get a little testy. The crew had drawn a 
happy face on the card where the Blob is 
supposed to be, and Chuck temporarily lost 
it. 'It's 4:30 a.m.— I don't have a sense of 
humor! Get that face off there!' 

"My next day on the set, I said, 
'Chuck. . .have you read Watchmenl Have 

you seen The HowUngl 1 happen to think 
the happy face is one of the scariest images 
in our culture at the moment.* He just look- 
ed at me and said, 'Yeah, I know..,' 
Basically, it wasn't the happy face he was 
criticizing, but the impulse to put something 
cute up there." 

Trail of the Wild Minister 

Close — who also appeared in Beware! 
The Blob (a.k,a. Son of Blob) and currently 
co-writes Wasteland for DC Comics — says it 
was an omen when his agents called him to 
audition for the current remake. 

"Three weeks prior to that, I had written 
a Blob story for Wasteland #8, The Eye 
Like Some Strange Balloon,' where my cat 
had scratched my cornea and forced me to 
appear in Beware! The Blob in an eyepatch, 

"And as it turned out. Chuck had seen 
me in The Untouchables on his flight in to 
New York to audition me, so I was fresh in 
his mind — it was nice to have a big-budget 
audition tape directed by Brian De Palma! 

"Reverend Meeker isn't a big part— I'm 
never on screen for more than 30 seconds at 
any given moment — they keep cutting to 
this preacher who does interesting things, 
and we eventually find out his signiRcance. 
When I met Chuck, I was waving the script 
around in one hand and 1 said, 'So, Meeker 
inherits the Earth!' Later, he told me that 
was when he knew 1 was the right guy for 
the part.'' 

His respect for his director developed 
even before shooting had begun. Close says 
he had several questions on line readings 
and approaches to the character, and 
Russell sat up with him for nearly an hour- 
and-a-half the night before his first day on 

STAR LOG correspondent, profiled 
Katharine Helmond in issue UI32. A 
Chicago-based improvisational actor, 

Johnson has worked extensively with 
writer /director /actor Del Close. 

ST ARLOG/ September 1988 23 

Close, a former fire-eater, gets a little 
retouching after his heated confrontation 
with the new and improved Blob. 

llic seL Close then discovered lliat the direc- 
lor had 10 be up al 4:00 a.m. — three hours 

*'I kfiow he'd raiher have been sleeping!" 
Close laughs. 

Another sequence in which the Reverend 
walks down ihe slreet, loaded down with 
various baggage, gave Russell a chance to 
dcmonslrate his inventiveness. Close says he 
had 10 look in the Pie Pan Cafe, spot 
something trighiening, and do a take where 
a concealed wine bottle slips out from under 
his arm, 

*'A^ it happened. 1 couldn't drop the wine 
boiile. The coat lining was slick, my arms 

were lull, and I was supposed to reveal the 
wine slowly before it felL It was altar wine, 
for my own consumption — jusi a little joke. 
Who knows, maybe Meeker pilfers commu- 
nion wafers for dip?"* 

Afler an attempt by the property master 
to construct a harness from gaffer's tape, in 
23-dcgree weather, the bit was almost drop- 
ped — until Rus.sell got involved. 

"1 was afraid 1 was in the hands of one of 
[hose over-achieving speed freaks who 
would be working with the tape for an hour- 
and-a-half— 1 had visions of being turned 
into Kharis the Mummy in the wilds of 
Louisiana. But when Chuck ripped off one 
piece of tape and made it do precisely what 
it was supposed to do, 1 realized I was in the 
hands of somebody who could visualize 
problems, and instantly apply the materials 
at hand to their solution- 

*'i[ might sound like a silly little moment, 
but my respect for Chuck went up a couple 
of notches right there!" 

Russell co-authored the screenplay, 
and Close says they delighted in getting the 
director to change his modes of thinking. 

"Art [Zone Trooper] LaFluer asked 

Ironically, three weeks before being called 
to do the remake. Close had finished an 
alternate version of Beware! The Biob for 
DC Comics' Wasteland. 

Chuck, *What am I supposed to say here?* 
And Chuck said, 'Well, let's get the writer in 
here/ and goes through this little transfor- 
mation—his fingers started doing typing 
movements. He*s able to switch roles with a 
great deal of grace! 

''Art and Beau Billingsley and I were 
watching Predator and noticed a couple of 
scenes that were screwy. At one point. Beau 
said, They would have known where those 
bodies were hidden because of the smell! 
They aren't giving enough credit to the other 

"So, 1 thought, That was a very pro- 
found and intelligent thing to say in the 
midst of a serious discussion about film act- 
ing— Til see if 1 can torture Chuck and 
make him put on another hat/ The next day 
on the set, 1 said, 'Chuck, what does the 
Blob smell like?' A fraction of a second 
went by, and 1 saw an eye flick— then he 
looked at me and said, *Ether/ Then, he 
looked surprised by what he himself had 

"I suspect the Blob didn't really smell like 
eihcr— he was telling me what it dfdnUsrw^W 
like. It wasn't like rotting meat, it had a hi- 
lech smell. It was useful as a metaphor, 
because ether makes one think of several 
aspects of the electronic industry — a surpris- 
ing sort of smell/' Close notes. 

Cry of the Human Torch 

The Manhattan, Kansas native first 
developed an interest in SF in boyhood, a 
love which became a hfetime affair. Close 
takes pride in having published the very first 
SF poetry fanzine Cataclysm in 194S, edited 
by Robert E. Briney. 

His love for theater was also acquired 
when he was very young, and sparked by his 
discovery of Hamlet's *To be or not to 
be. . ." soliloquy. 

At 16, he was able to combine his hterary 

and theatrical loves when he left home to 
join ''Dr. Dracula's Tomb of Horror/' 
although his parents were less than pleased 
with his new career. Showing an ancient 
copy of Bride of Frankenstein, the lights 
would eventually black out ("Giving the 
guys a chance to grope their dates,*' he ex- 
plains), and Close would run through the 
theater audience throwing handfuls of cook- 
ed spaghetti, as Dr. Dracula shouted, **A 
plague of worms shall descend upon you!*' 
Shakespeare, it wasn*t_ 

The experience did fuel his love of 
performing, however, and Close, at various 
limes, found himself touring with ragtag 
theatrical companies (as well as a stint as a 
sideshow fire-eater— '*Azrad the Incom- 
bustible Persian''), while working up to Off- 
Broadway and Barter Theatre productions. 

Eventually, he found himself performing 
with the Compass Players in St. Louis (the 
predecessors of Second City) along with 
Mike Nichols and Elaine May, and then on 
to Second City hself, where he helped to 
create the type of improvisation that is still 
practiced there today. 

After acting several years with the group 
in Chicago, Close traveled to the West 
Coast, where he served in a variety of televi- 
sion and film roles (including a recurring 
part on NBC's My Mother the Car and a 
brief scene for George Lucas in American 
Graffiti)^ and ran the light shows for the 
Graleful Dead. (He is featured in Tom 
Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.) 
More significantly, he went on to work with 
San Francisco's legendary satirical troupe. 
The Committee. 

But, Chicago kept calling him home, and 
Close returned to Second City, this time as a 
director. His tenure gave the world John 
Bclushi, Betty Thomas, Bill Murray, and 
100 many other comedic greats to possibly 
name them all (including George Wendt, 

John Candy, Harold Ramis, Mary Gross, 
Eugene Levy, Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis, 
Gilda Radner and Brian Doyle-Murray). 
Safurday Nighi Live called him in to serve as 
the house metaphysician, where he con- 
ducted improv classes for the actors. 

After SNL^ Close found himself teaching 
improv in Chicago, but becoming more in- 
trigued by acting once again. He began 
working in local productions for Chicago's 
Goodman, Steppenwolf and Wisdom 
Bridge Theaters (the latter which won him 
acclaim in his beloved Hamleiy as Polonius). 
Film roles included parts in Ferris Bueller's 
Day Off, The Big Town, Light of Day, and 
the brief-bul-memorable role in The Un- 
touchables as a crooked alderman who tries 
to bribe Elliot Ness C*You fellows are un- 
touchable, is that the thing?*'). Close also 
maintained his ties to SF by directing 1987's 
Honor Finnegan vs. the Brain of the 
Galaxy, his first directing project since leav- 
ing Second City, 

And, at age 50, Close discovered comic 
books. Sparked by his interest in Alan 
Moore's Swamp Things he began co-writing 
Munden's Bar stories for First Comics, and 
then co-created DCs Wasteland, a horror 
anthology to which he contributes chapters 
of his autobiography. 

It was his past as a fire-eater and human 
torch that was resurrected during one big 
moment in The Blob. When a man with a 
flame-thrower explodes on one side of the 
screen, the tire is supposed to splash onto 
Close's stunt double at the other side of the 
frame. Unfortunately, the stunt double 
didn't catch on fire immediately ("Chuck 
said, ^Standing there waiting for the fire, he 
looked hke he could be waiting for a 
bus!* "), and they couldn't blow up the man 
with the flame-thrower again, but they need- 
ed a shot of the Reverend in flames. 

"At one point, I must have said that I 

Are these men staring into the frightful 
form of the Blob or an even scarier 
vision— a Happy Face? 

SJh^LOG/ September 198S 25 

UnlDuchableK Pholo: Zade Rosenthal/Copyright 19&7 Paiamounl Pictuies 

■x*'.-.i?i::^^";\ ^;^ T^\^':-":;;:i: :^' 


As a crooked alderman. Close gave Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith and Andy Garcia a name: The Untouchables. 

would prefer noi to gel set on fire— I would 
prefer to get doubled, simply because that's 
not my area of expertise. But my aversion lo 
llame somehow got magnified down ihe 
line. Chuck says, 'He doesn't want to get set 
on fire/ somebody else says, 'Oh, he reaiiy 
doesn't want to get set on fire,' which 
becomes 'He's terrified of being set on fire,' 
and they end up with *Oh, fire really freaks 
him outr They weren't aware that I had 
done human torch work in the past. 

"i thought they were really going to put a 
little fire on me, but all they wanted for the 
insert was this quick wave of flame in front 
of me, Frankiy, at my age, Vm not crazy 
about doing the human torch again — on the 
other hand, back then, I didn't have the 
protection that these guys do today. But, at 
this point, i think I would be as adverse to 
being set on fire as anyone else — except 1 
wish they would have put a little fire on my 
shoulder, to give the impression 1 was doing 
my own stunt doubling. 

"Actually, I've given up many things/' 
he explains, noting that he allows himself 
only one cigarette an hour— down from 
three-and-a-half packs a day. "Tve given up 
drugs— not because I've reformed, but just 
because one can't do ii after a while— one 
doesn't keep being a dope fiend into old 
age. And in the same common-sense way I 
avoid drugs now, I avoid fire as well/' 

26 ST ARLOG/ September 1988 

Among other healthy moves (Close is also 
a recovered alcoholic). The Blob helped him 
get into shape. "1 lost 25 pounds— not 
through wear and tear, but because Chuck 
asked me to do it. I dropped from 198 to 
173—1 figured if Robert De Niro could do 
it, 1 could do it," he laughs. 

Shadows or Blob Past 

Close maintains he has been followed by 
the Blob for the past 30 years, and there is 
some impressive evidence to back up his 
claims, in addition to being cast in the film 
ihree weeks after writing his Wasteland 
story, upon returning to Chicago, he found 
WGN-TV featuring the Blob hosting a 
Blob-fest. He was then cast in a Goodman 
Theatre production of Pat Joey, directed by 
Bob Falls, a college classmate of Chuck 

The actor's ties to the Blob actually began 
earlier than that, when he "fell madly in 
love, in an inept, WASP, Midwestern way," 
with Aneta Corseaut, who was living in 
Hutchinson, Kansas. The teenaged Close 
used to go off to visit her (^That's how 1 
met L. Ron Hubbard," he notes, an ex- 
perience chronicled in Wasteland ^), and 
met up with her years later in New York. 

"She had just gone off to New Jersey to 
make a film called The Blob for some 
religious film company— th^ weren't mak- 

ing any money doing religious movies, so 
ihey thought they had better make a SF- 
horror movie. This was Anela's first movie, 
and Steve McQueen's second. So, my high 
school sweetie was in the first Btob Ibefore 
joining The Andy Griffiii} Show]. 

"I had been in a Broadway show with 
Larry Hagman, The Nervous Set, and we 
became friends. Well, he hired all his old 
friends — those who were willing to work for 
scale, at least— for Son of Blob. It was his 
first directorial attempt. Larry, Burgess 
Meredith and I had a scene together in 
which we were all eaten by the Blob," Close 
says, proudly pointing out that he is the onty 
person to appear in two Blobs. 

"Godfrey Cambridge [who was also in 
Son of Blob] was supposedly an extra in the 
first film, though 1 don't think that counts. 
He was supposed to be in the crowd that 
runs out of the movie theater — some of 
them laughing, if you look closely! 

"And, if there's a sequel to the new Blob^ 
1 don't see how they can avoid using me. It's 
safe lo say that 1 survive the Blob^sort oL" 

Living alongside the Blob as he has. Close 
has analyzed the original film frequently. 
"Part of the reason the original Blob has 
become such a cultural icon is certainly not 
its quality— it's not a very good film— but it 
takes a rather unusual view of teenagers, at a 

(continued on page 36) 

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Gl^$1 GEOr?GE lAKEl una 



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(continued from page 7} 

poieniially vulnerable in not-so-apparent ways. I 
keenly anticipated ihe series* writers developing 
interesiing stories arouTid her; with a character so 
flavorful and an actress so dynamic, how could 
the creative staff ignore Yar/Crosby? 

Ah, but ii did and though I'm saddened by 
Crosby's depariuie, \ can't say thai I blame her. It 
would have been so encouraging and meaningful 

for us progressive-minded women in the audience, 
enduring real-life struggles for equality and digni- 
ty in the late 20ih century, to watch one of our 
sisters— or should I say, descendants— exercise 
wisely and beneficially in the 24th century the 
rights, responsibilities, freedoms and challenges 
that we're nowadays working toward. As it is, ap- 
parently the creative minds (if that's the right 
term) behind the camera simply couldn't figure 
out how 10 use a character so iconoclastic, a 
woman who couldn't and wouldn't fit any mold. 
What made her so distinctive and engaging also 
doomed her to getting underemployed, and even- 
tually killed off. Hopefully* even though Tasha 
Yar is finished, Denise Crosby isn't, and getting 
out of the scries will free her for projects worthy 
of her talents. 

Mary Anne Landers 

2715 W. Second Place 

Russellville, AK 72801 

... 1 bought STARLOG #130 after hearing on 
Emeriainmeni Tonight that Denise Crosby 
wouldn't be back for Star Trek: The Nexi 
GeneraliQn'% second season. 

First off, I think her death will be a great set- 
back for female equality on Star Trek. Remember 
on the old show how virtually all the women look- 
ed like Playboy bunnies, wearing what Jay Leno 
called '*those rinky-dink outfits that made them 
look like they were auditioning for / Dream of 
Jeannie'}" Finally, we have Lt. Tasha Yar, a 
woman who isn't just a secretary or a victim or a 
romantic interest. This broad-shouldered, butch- 
cul, biuc-eyed blonde (say ifwi 10 times quick!) 
was a bold new addition to the Siar Trek universe. 



Missing copies? Moving? Renewals? Re- 
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28 STARLOG /September 1988 


True, at first, she came off as somewhat paranoid 
and anal-retentive (though understandably so)* 
but later she came across as very capable at her 
job and clumsy but well-meaning in her relation- 
ships. We need the show to continue this process 
and show the audience that women can be profes- 
Monals and still be women, as Dr. Crusher is. 

Andrew Mead Janes il 

144-3A Laurel Way 

Herndon. VA 22070 

. . .With all the publicity out aboui the killing 
ol'Ta^ha Yar, \ really think it shows a lack of 
responsibility on STARLOG^s parr to run an ob- 
viously old interview just to reap the rewards of 
ihc current publicity surrounding Denise Crosby. 

Barbara Sue Silver 
933 Ea<.i 300 South fa\ 
Salt Lake City. VT 84102 

, . , [ am very disappointed in the way STARLOG 
handled the deaths of major characters on two 
TV shows this season. In both cases, STARLOG 
cheated its readers with hinis which, though they 
did not directly reveal what would happen, cer- 
tainly took the edge off those moments when they 
were teie vised. 

In issue #129, you reported that one major 
character from Captain Power and the Soldiers oj 
the Future would die. When Pilot died on the last 
show of the season. I was still somewhat surprised 
but, afterwards, I felt cheated because you had 
raised the possibility weeks before. 

The cover title of issue ^130's exclusive, "Will 
they kill off Denise Crosby?*" was unfair to your 
readers. That point was only a minor element of 
ihe article and the actress seemed to refute that 
possibility rather convincingly. So, why even pose 
[he question? Certainly, few of your readers 
would have been aware of ""'the latest Hollywood 
rumor*' or would have objected if you had ig- 
nored such speculation. Yet , merely by raising the 
possibility, you were able to limit this fan's sense 
of tragedy and surprise when Yar died. 

For dedicated fans of a TV series, the death of 
a major character is an important event. In my 
opinion, it is your responsibility to report such a 
situation very carefully, and with more discretion 
than you exercised on these two occasions. The 
audience has a right to be shocked or relieved by 
plot turns in a story. You take away thai right 
when you carelessly give away plot secrets. 
IsrARLOG has had a good record for keeping 
some pretty big secrets over Ihe years. L hope this 
docs not indicate a new trend, 

Valorie Hoye 

Victoria, British Columbia 


No, STARLOG hasn't begun a new policy of 
spoiling secrets. We make a great effort not to 
iyoitll never hear from its what kind of sled 
Rosebud is in Citizen Kane>, but with the media 
atiennon surrounding Denise Crosby's departure, 
we certainly could not ignore the topic. And there 
is no way we can compete with either Entenain- 
meni Totxlghi's daily airing or TV Qu'ide's weekly ^ 
publication, so if our interview with Denise jj 
Cmsby appears dated in comparison, U*s solely S 
because we approached Crosby long before the S 
other sources and events then quickly overtook J 

her comments to STARLOG. Crosby discusses 

the whole mailer {and her denial of those rumors 

m it 130} this issue on page 29, while Editor David 

McDonnell shares his notes on the subject on page 

.. .All of my friends want Lt. Yar to return to the 
show. We were wondering if there was a plan for 
her to return, 

Jeff Bussetl 

Topsham, ME 

As Spoek is fond of saying, "there are always 
possibilities." And Crosby has akeady returned 
after "Skin of Evil, " Read on. 

...Could it be Security Chief Tasha Yar on 
board the Enterprise^ was giving her own personal 
goodbye to the viewers? In the last scene of the 
episode, "Symbiosis,*' as Captain Picard and Dr. 
Crusher are exiting the cargo bay area, Tasha can 
be seen waving in the background as the doors 

Roy Bjellquisl 

Brakeiey Gardens 

Phinipsburg, NJ 

Yes, Crosby was waving goodbye to the Star Trek 
universe. A Ithough her character died in ' 'Skin of 
Evil/' Crosby returned a week later to film 
"Symbiosis. *' her actual final voyage as a Next 
Generation actress. 

, . - 1 want to thank the writers of The Next 
Generation for doing something good. Killing off 
Tasha Yar was well overdue. She should have 
died at Farpoint at the hands of Q or in "Code of 
Honor." Vm glad she's gone. She couldn't act 
very well, and she didn*! do anything but stand 
around and look tough. 

The way the story was leading 1 thought that 
Riker or Picard would die, but I'm glad it was 
Tasha. How she got the part is beyond me! 
Maybe they will kill off Wesley— I hope they do. 

V. Larrabee 

Address Unknown 


LT, 6EORpf LA FOfie^E // 


exactly why she left 
the series and 
examines where 
she's going. 


enise Crosby is once a^mix Denisc 
Croshy, Ixslia Yar Is in iedera- 
tion Heaven, and never Ihe Iwain 
shall meel. I here arc many reasons why. ' 

And a couple oF reasons why not. 

''No, Ihey didn'l kill me off because I 
was u>ikin]^ lur too much money/' 
dehunks Crosby. "And my posin|f nude 
for Piayhoy had nothing lo do with il," 

Denise Crosby is laying those rumors to 
rest during an early morning conversutlon 
in her Southern ('alilornia home. The ae- _^ 
Iress, a few weeks removed from her ^hI 
character's public demise in Ihe Star Trek: ^^' 
The Next Ceneraihn episode '*Skin or j 
l-Ailj" is adju&tlnj; nicel.v to a non-7>fA 
way of life. She's sleepinj; later, weighing 
numerous offers that have arrived in the 
wake of her Star Trek departure and ad- 
milling thai her days on the series were 
already numbered when she denied such 
rumors in STAKLOG ffUH, 4 

''Things were being discussed at thai 
point,'* Crosby concedes^ 'i couldn't say 
unylhin^ then because it was a1 a stage 
where norhing had been decided on. The 
script in which la^ha dies had not even 
been written yel/' ^ 

The reason that script had to he written 
in the firsi place was the final solulkin lo a 
feslering creative frustration with her place 
in Ihe Stiir Trek universe. 1 

*T was getting concerned with the fact 
that I was just standing in the background h 
with nothing lo do,*' laments Crosby- : 
"Over the course of the first season, the ^ 
episodes *The Naked Now" and 'Code of 
Honor' were the only two episodes in 
which Tasha had anything in the way of a 
storyline that gave me any kind of acting 
challenges. I had, for all intents and pur- 
poses, been relegated to the role of a 
glorified extra.'* ^^ j 

And it was a problem thai Crosby ^^ 
claims was nof peculiar lo her role. 

Did what Yar (Crosby) and Data (Brent 

Spinet) share in an earty episode really 

happen? Originally, in the scripfs last 

testament, Yar lofd the Science Officer 

that it did. 

t *'With Ihe exception of Patrick 
(Slewartl, Jonathan [Frakesj iind BrenI 
JSpinerl, Ihe whole cast has complained at 
one time or another. It had basically 
become a situation where everybody was 
fighting lo keep their characters alive and 
interesting. We all knew thai there w(mld 
be situations where our characters would 
be relegated lo supporting roles. But when 
your character is not participating, it can 
gel very fruslraling. You're receiving a 
stripl each week and finding Ihal the siory 
is once again centering on the Captain and 
the First Officer," says Crosby. 
J However, Ihe actress decided that she 
wouldn't submerge her frustration in a fat 
paycheck and the security of a weekly 
series gig. Crosby boldly wcjit where no 
Trek regular had gone before: into the of- 
fices of the !Wexf Oenerathn producers 
and wrilers, 

r '*! asked them what was goinf^ to hap- 
pen to my characler," Crosby recalls. "I 
even offered Ihem some story ideas I had. 
,1 was told, 'Hang light* WeVe having 
"^ome difficulties with writers.' They were 

rying to forge ahead and I'd have lo be 


Crosby wa.\ patient- Vet, as months 
went by and no changes were forthcom- 
ing, Crosby's frustration, aided and abet- 
ted by the increasing number of non-r^^A 
t)ffers she was forced to turn down, reach- 
^ critical mass. In desperation, Crosby re- 
quested and received an audience with 
["The Greal Bird of the Galaxy, ' Gene 
Tlodden berry. 

"Gene and I had a number of talks and 
jwa<j very understanding of the fact that 
'ould not he satisfied with a line here and 

STAKLOC/Septefnf?er 1988 29 

ihcre and nolhinf^ much lo do. He knew, 
4>n one level, thai Ihe show was gotnj> lo be 
in [rouble wirh nine pnneipal actors lo 
wrile for. He knew Star Trek was mil like 
I. .A. LuH- wllh four or five subplots in 
eaih episode. He wanleil to stick to (he 
formuja of one or* at mosl« two s1or>'lincs 
per episode. 

" I'here were never any problems or any 
harsh words between us," notes Crosby, 
''and (^ene suid he loved J^hst and what I 
was doin^ with her. He wanted me lo slay 
on, but couldn't justify it if I wasn't hap* 
p>. Gene was so undersign dtnf> thai il 
made the whole situation even more sad-" 

Murder, My Sweet 

It was during the final meelinj^ between 
K(»diUnbeiT> and ( roshv thai Snir Trek*s 
creulor decided that the hesi wa> to ring 
down the curtain on Denise Crosby would 
be to have Tasha Var die. 

"(iene feJl it was the onlj way," explains 
Crosby. "He knew the dramatic impact 
would be tremendous because no rej>ular 
eharacier in the Star Trek series had ever 
been permanenHy \i\\\v6 |e\eept David Mar- 
cus). He really fell it would blow people's 

Koddenberrv turned to a rou^h draft of a 
Joseph Stefano script wilh a working title of 
"The Shroud" (also known as "Tour-de- 
Force" and retitJed "Skin of KvN" before 
alrtjme) v^hich hM\ nan a hint of death 
in the Sfar Trek family . The script was 
radically restructured to include 
Ta^ha Var's death, i 


-— ''. 

- ^-'. 





_ . 1 


'I - -- 

7. r- ^'TC' 



<. . 

-■■.-■ '■"-■.v-,-.,„;',v-^----^" 

■ , ',j\ ■ ■'-^ '/: -- ■ - ' 

_ ■ - 

J- ' 

the impact of which was bolstered by the 
fact that Var, for all intents and purposes, 
v^as dciid h> \\\\: first commercial. 

''The script reutiy went a^jainst the 
grain," assesses Crosby. "I think people 
were expecting a last minute bailie with 
Tasha going out with all phasers bla/ing. 
Ine inient was to make Ta.sha\ death more 
horrifving [i> having it appear sudden and 
indiseriminale/* -^ — 


"Everybody was fighting 
to keep their characters alive 
and Interesting." Crosby 
notes, a battle she 
eventually lost. 



- * 



^ou could have heard a pin drop on 
l^aramounrs Siage 6 the week *'Skin of 
Kvil" was shot. Because of changes in Ihe 
prodttclion schedule as the Sext (ienerarion 
\eiLson wore on, ('rosb> bad lo shoot one 
more episode ("Symbiosis") after her 
character^ death, which, she claims, took 
some emotional wei^^hi off her leaving ihe 

^ "Bui il was very cough on everybody 
else," she explains, "Everybody was really 
sad. Lmotionaljy, il was a bad scene for the 
rest of Ihe casl. 

"The monologue I did ai thai epbode*& 
end was particularly rough. All ihe other 
characters' poinls-of-view were shot tlrsi, 
and I was doing all of their stuff off-eamera- 
That wa>^when the camera finally turned 
n^T^Wuld be toiaii> free of emotion, 
and be able to make ihe speech ns if Tasha 
were really making il. I was so choked up, 
Itiough. that we had to keep doing Ihe scene 
again and again before I eouid gel Ihe emo- 
tion of the moment out of my system. I was 
crying like a babj. So was Ihe rest of Ihe 

In bindMghl, Crosby feels "Skin of Evir* 
was an effective episode, one. she jokes, 
"that gave me more to do in IS minutes 
than 1 had done nearly all season." Still, she 
says the intended impact fell short. 

"I don't know if the show's impact work- 
ed in the waj it should have. 1 here were just 
too man> rumors flying around about m> 
leaving Ihe show. Too man> people were 
talking. Bui, with a cast and crew of more 
than 200 people, leaks were bound to hap- 
pen. Personal!}, t think It would have been 
great lo just have people tune in Ihe show 
and <)Uddenly 1 would die. The impact would 
have beenfantasrii.'^ 

Death Be Not Proud 

Crosby doesn't have time to bemoan 
what eould have been. Her post-Star Trek 
life is rapidl> filling up wilh offers, many of 
them in the science-fiction/fantas> genre. 

First up will be the nuclear holocaust 
drama Mirucie Mile. Crosb> , who stars wilh 
Anthony {Top Oun) Edwards, plays a high- 
powered stock broker who, with a handful 
of others, accidentally 
discovers that the V,S. ^dt 

has launched a 
nuclear strike. 





( r<»sby is also preparing for the role of a 
futuristic double agent in Ihe upcoming 
Rock /mu\ a drama that has the powers- 
Ihal-be attempting Ut destroy rock and roll. 
<'rosb> jokes that Ihe job came about 
through totally unexpccled circumstances. 

"The director was watching television late 
one nighl and happened to catch 
/■H/rn'fuiior\, Getting hired for anythinfi bas- 
ed <m being seen in that film was the laM 
thing I expelled," she chuckles. 

She will also be testing, opposite Arnold 
Schwarzenegger, for Ihe Martian thriller 
Torul Kecatt^ which will be directed b> Paul 
iiiohoCop) Verhoeven. 

Crosby is grateful for Ihe rush of offers, 
hut d<»esn'i think her >ear's stint on Star 
Trek: The \'ext iieneraiioti is necessardy 
t>ptng her into fanlasy roles. 

"It's weird how all this has been happen- 
ing/' she says. "I like these projects but I 
d(m'i want to do just science fiction, i don't 
think Star Trek is typing me. \\ hai I think is 
happening is that people are looking at m> 
short hain ver> little makeup and Ihinking 
of me as having this fulurislic look. Things 
will start to balance themselves out, and Til 
be offered a wider variety of roles." 

The reaction to Tasha Var's death is 
beginning lo manifest itself in letters fsee 
page fi) and promised campaigns to bring 
her back to Ihe bridge of the i-jUerprise. 

"I'm Haltered that people would want me 
back," she admits. "Em glad mj ponrayal 
of Ibis character was able lo effect people to 
that degree. I don't know ho%\- they could 
have Tasha Yar come back. But this is 
science fiction, so anyihhiii is possit>le." 

Denise ( rosby still maintains contact with 
k^me Sext Generation cast members and 
ronlinues to walch the series. 

"Em still a huge supporter of the show 
and I will always be a Srar Trek fan. But, I 
watched an episode the other night and sud- 
deni> got Ihe distinct feeling that something 
was missing. 

"Maybe it was Tasha/' ^ 

Pholo: Kim Got1IJ«L>Wiiksr 

* j . - .»t 



Sylvester McCoy 

Keeping the Doctot's role is no longer a sure thing, but McCoy understands that. 

McCoy didn't always have to hypnotize companion Bonnie Langford to perfonn 
dangerous stunts with him. Amazingly, she trusted his motorbike driving abilities. 



The seventh Time Lord 
clocks in with some 

observations of his first 
year on the job. 


laying Ihe Doctor is very hard 
work," Sylvester McCoy confesses. 
The Scottish actor, seventh in the 
line of Time Lords in the BBC-TV series 
Doctor Who^ has recently completed taping 
]\{5 first season in the role. 

''Usually, the theater is where the hard 
work is in acting, and television is less so>" 
McCoy continues. *'But this job is rough. 
You*re acting for 12 hours, and toward the 
end of the day, about 9:30 at night, you can 
hardly stand up, you^re so tired. There are 
scenes in my episodes where the Doctor's 
leaning on things, and the audience can see 
it: There— that's 9:30, he's exhausted.' '' 

McCoy came to the part during a contin- 
uing period of chaos for television's longest- 
running science-fantasy program. In 1985, 
the series went on a BBC-enforced 
18-monlh hiatus. At the conclusion of the 
23rd season in 1987, the sixth Doctor, Colin 
Baker (STARLOG #132), was told his serv- 
ices were no longer needed. Baker became 
the first actor to be dismissed from the role. 
Naturally, then, McCoy is a bit wary, both 
of professional and public reaction to his 

"The public generally has had a very 
positive reaction," he notes. *'There has 
been almost nothing but praise. As a matter 
of fact, Tve received only two letters that 
said anything critical, which is rather nice. 
The professional fan types seem to feel 
somewhat differently about it. But then, I 
suppose they would. It's the same every time 
a new Doctor comes in, there's a certain 
amount of apprehension. 

*'Of course, because of the recent events, 
there's an uncertainty that will hang over the 
program from now on,'* McCoy relates. 
"There have been major changes within the 
BBC as well. The people who took the show 
off the air are gone, and we don*t know 
whether Ihe new people who have taken 
over want to keep it. 

"The circumstances of Colin's departure 
meant that I took the job knowing that that 
could possibly happen to me. Before, no 
other Doctor knew that fact when he took it 

32 ST XKLOG/ September 1988 

on. It was nearly guaranteed that you had 
the job for as long as you wanted to stay. 
So, that has meant knowing that one's 
future is in the hands of the BBC." 

Despite those concerns, McCoy admits he 
has enjoyed the role right from the begin- 
ning. *The actual physical transition was 
quite fun really, dressing up as Cohn 
Baker," he recalls, "although, when I put 
the curly wig on, I looked like Harpo Marx, 
Lying on the floor of the TARDIS, no one 
could see the height difference — all Doctors 
are the same size lying down." (Normally, 
the departing and incoming Doctors are 
both involved in a regeneration scene, but 
Baker's abrupt departure precluded such a 
sequence this time.) 

Like the six actors who have played the 
Doctor before him, McCoy is slowly getting 
used to instant public recognition in Great 
Britain. "Sometimes, if I'm walking down 
the street, or on my bike, cycling around 
London, Til hear someone shout, 'Oy, Doc- 
tor, Where's your TARDIS?' I was known 
before in Bntain, one of those faces people 
recognize. In one way, people are respond- 
ing to me as they always have, just in a big- 
ger way. I can still go on the Underground 
jsubway, a.k.a. "tube'*l and the buses, but 
people look at me strangely, as if thinking 
'That guy looks just like the Doctor, Ah,^ 
no, he wouldn't be on the tube.' '* 

Who Goes There? 

Every actor brings something new to the 
Doctor, but this one hopes to bring 
something old as welL "I think my 
characterization of the Doctor is forming 
slowly, I would like it to be a combination 
of all the other Doctors, pius," McCoy ex- 
plains. "I'm finding areas where you can 
bring in a little bit of William Hartnell, a bit 
of Patrick Troughton. Actually, I'm look- 
ing forward to another season. As an actor, 
it's quite nice to spend only five months of 
the year doing Doctor Who, because you 
have the chance to do other things. In a 
way, though, I would have liked to have 
done more because the character's develop- 
ment didn't feel finished. It was as complete 
as it could be for the amount of screen time 
involved, but it takes a while to get it 

Storywise, McCoy knows little about the 
upcoming season, during which the show 
will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Does he 
find that daunting? "I don't think being the 
Doctor during the 25th anniversary puts any 
special responsibilities on me. I mean, the 
responsibility is there from the start, just in 
terms of playing the role, I'm very lucky to 
be around at this lime." He laughs, **There 
should be quite a few parties." 

On^the other hand, McCoy knows exactly 
what villains he wants to battle. *M'm look- 
ing forward to working with the classic op- 
ponents, including the Master. As far as the 
monsters are concerned, when 1 went to in- 
terview for the part, they asked me my 
favorites, and I said the Daleks and the 

"I would like to be a combination of all the 
other Doctors, plus," McCoy notes. 

Wtien the BBC forced an early regeneration on the sixth Doctor, McCoy was diafted 
to fill Colin Bakef's coat tails- However, the wig made McCoy look like Harpo Marx. 


Cybermen. 1 like the ice Warriors, too/ 

The Doctor always faces some interesting 
problems during the series' taping, and Mc- 
Coy had his share of dangerous moments, 
including a run-in with a motorcycle. 

"Driving a motorbike with Bonnie 
Langford [who co-stars as the Doctor's 
traveling companion, Mel] in the sidecar 
and [guest star] Richard Davis on the back 
was pretty exciting,*' McCoy says, 
remembering a scene from "Delta and the 
Bannermen," "The director came up to me 
and asked, 'Can you ride a motorbike?' 
And 1 said, *Yes' [shaking his head no all the 
while). So, they gave me this very powerful 
motorbike to ride. I'm driving along on it,. 
and suddenly a bush ran out into the road 
and we ran into it. It" was very interesting 
watching Richard's face as he fiew past me, 
looking rather worried at the time. What 

STARLOG correspondent, profiled 
frederik Pohi in issue ttl30, 

STARLOG/September 1988 33 

McCoy hopes that his Doctor and Mel 
(Langford) will face such classic baddies 
as the Master, the Daleks and the 

was amazing was ihai both he and Bonnie 
were ready to get back on ii with me." 

Perhaps the physical nature of McCoy's 
previous theatrical duties— including por- 
traying a human bomb (STARLOG #120)— 
helped to prepare him for such explosive ac- 
tion. 'The physical nature of the pan didn't 
particularly faze me," he agrees. "IVe done 
lots of physical things, falling about and the 
like. iVe played Buster Keaion and Stan 
Laurel, very physical roles. Tm a physical 
actor, and I've tried to make the Doctor 
even more so. Thus far, they've let me do all 

34 STARLOG/ September 1988 

my own stunts. 1 didn't think ihey were very 
dangerous, although the other people on the 
motorbike probably did. I did one stunt 
where \ was hanging by my umbrella from a 
30-fooi cliff- That was quite dangerous, 1 
suppose, but I enjoyed lu Sadly, it doesn't 
make any sense in the story: *Why am I 
hanging from acliff?* *It*sacliff-hanger!' " 

Who Done it? 

Perhaps because of the series' now 
precarious perch on the BBC schedule, 
British fans have become quite vocal about 
what they deem to be the show's faults. 
Among the problems seen by some viewers 
is a turn toward comedy evidenced by Mc- 
Coy's own background In vaudeville-iype 

entertainment, and by such guest stars as 
Stubby Kaye, the American Broadway per- 
former best known as Nicely-Nicdy in Guys 
and Dolls (who co-stars in Who Framed 
Roger Rabbit?). Kaye had a major roie in 
the "Delta and the Bannerman" saga. Mc- 
Coy,. who has been a fan of the show since 
his college days, says he has felt some of the 

**A few of the more prominent British 
fans have been critical, generally of [pro- 
ducer] John Nathan-Turner, and their 
criticism of him has rubbed off on me/' 
McCoy comments. "Unintentionally, ap- 
parently. They've written me letters saying. 
'We're not knocking you.' The problem is 
they went very public about the criticisms, 
speaking to the general press — and the press 
didn't see it as knocking just one producer 
but the current show in general, so I came 
off tarnished by it all." 

Although he has yet to meet one of these 
critical fans in person, McCoy feels they are 
probably wrong about the current stale of 
Doctor Who. 'Tt's all very confusing, the 
conflicts within the fan groups. Generally, 
the feeling I get is that they approve of what 
I'm doing, but they don't approve of what 
John's doing, I disagree, but that's the way 
it is, 

**rve been watching the old Doctor Whos 
off and on since I got the job— they've lent 
me tapes— and people keep harping back to 
the 'good old days.' I've been watching 
them with my sons, who are 10 and 12, and 
they enjoy the more recent ones more than 
the older ones. 

"In many ways, 1 think the fans look at 
the older stories through a golden mist. 
There are some where the stories and writing 
are very good, but the rest falls apart 

Returning to the subject of "responsibili- 
ty," McCoy agrees that the actor who plays 
the universe's most weli-known Time Lord 
must meet the fans. "I think the actor play- 
ing the Doctor does have a responsibihty to 
face his public in settings like conventions 
and respond to them. And IVe found it 
quite enjoyable so far. 1 believe it helps the 

"It's really nice to find out what the au- 
dience thinks. Generally in television, an ac- 
tor doesn't really know what the audience 
thinks. On stage, if it's a comedy, the au- 
dience laughs, or if it's a tragedy, they cry. 
There's an immediate response. The frustra- 
tion of television is that, usually, you never 
know if you've gotten across. Just the fact 
that people turn out to see you means 

But sometimes, those meetings with fans 
can be disconcerting. "Of course, they turn 
out to see 'the Doctor,' too," McCoy points 
out, recalling one incident in particular. 
"Some of them seem to have difficulty 
separating Sylvester McCoy from the Doc- 
tor. There was one man in Minneapolis-St. 
Paul who asked me, 'Excuse me. Doctor, 
but when you were in your third persona, 
what were you thinking when you. . . .' And 
1 had no idea, I've never even seen that 
episode! But he betievedV ^ 



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(continued from page 19} 

water chat has been electrically 
charged— your movemeiii produces a 
'splash/ and that splash envelopes you with 
its energy." 

But what is the source of this mysterious, 
energy? Early treatments attributed the 
power lo a prehistoric visit by, of course, 
aliens. But as soon as Kwapis read the script, 
he excised such notions. 'M had a big debate 
with the writers and producers about that 
aspect of the story/' the director admits, 'i 
felt introducing aliens would totally throw 
the audience off. But I do like the idea of 
ancient Indians having a *psychic oil well* 
[the pyramid] to drawn from to enhance 
their psychic prowess/' 

Kwapis reveals that most FX in Vibes in- 
volved the familiar blue screen process— ac- 
tors going through their paces in front of a 
large blue background. Later, in post- 
production, the blue screen is optically 
replaced by whatever visuals the script 
demands. *Tor the most part/' Kwapis 
details, "we used scale models or matie 
paintings for the blue screen scenes. For ex- 
ample, there are a couple of blue screen 
shots where the actors enter the lost ciiy for 
the firsl time— breathtaking scenics in the 
grand tradition. For those segments, I was 
drawing inspiration from Ronald Colman's 
first look at Shangri-La in Frank Capra's 
Lost Horizon.'^ 

Kwapis' self-proclaimed favorite FX 
scene involves a scale model of the lost Inca 
city. Edlund and his team of Boss Company 
modelmakers and technicians painstakingly 
crafted a miniature town based on the real 
Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. 

*'This favorite scene,'' the director 
elaborates, "deals with Cyndi astrally pro- 
jecting herself from one side of the Inca city 
to the other to come to Jeffs aid. The se- 
quence begins with Cyndi drifting off into a 
trance as she sits cross-legged on top of the 
temple. The camera pulls aWay from her as 
she expells her spirit from its body — it*s as if 
the camera eye becomes her soul. After a 
dissolve, the -camera [and the audiencel, 
now seemingly merged with Cyndi's spirit 
and seeing things from her perspective, 
floats over the scale model of the Inca city. 
There's a second dissolve, and then the 
camera/spirit descends to eye level with Jeff 
and the scene begins/* 

Kwapis sheepishly admits he has "drawn 
a blank" trying to remember specific Vibes 
anecdotes. He does say laughingly that 
"comedy is hard enough at sea level, let 
alone at 12.000 feet. None of my actors- 
Jeff, Cyndi or Peter — had ever been so high 
before, and when you're up there, you 
^mply can't breathef" 

Summing up his attitude about Vibes^ 
Ken Kwapis says, "I tried to make a movie 
that respects psychics, a movie that laughs 
with them, not ai them. One of the really 
fun things about Vibes is that you think it's 
one thing, but it's not. It's like a game of 


(continued from page 26) 

lime when teens were usually shown as 
delinquents, running wild. In The Blob, the 
teenagers' misbehavior and vandalislic 
violence is basically their salvation. The kids 
were right, they had the solution. 

"There's also a subtle, weird, political 
message in the original Blob. Joe McCarthy 
had just been disgraced, and the Cold War 
was very much a fact of life. At the movie's 
end, somebody says, T don't think h can be 
killed. It's frozen,' Thai's what the Blob 
is— a creeping red menace— the Cold War. 

Currently, Close is delving into 
autobiography as part of the 
anthology comic IVaste/afid. 

It can't be killed, like we can*t kill Com- 
munism—we can only freeze it. Whether on 
purpose or not, I'm convinced those were its 
political underpinnings. 

"There's different symbolism in the new 
Blob. This Blob looks quite different from 
the others. One lady who worked briefly in 
the new film was convinced that it was not a 
political subtext," Close explains, "but a 
sexual one— the Blob represented AIDS. 

"Still, there was a tremendous amount of 
respect given to the original, to the point 
that it's drastically improved. The script is 
far better, the special FX are just un- 
touchable. These are real state-of-the-art 
FX, the best that $20 million can buy! They 
repeal some of the original scenes almost 
movc-for-move, such as the freezer scene. 
li*s hke an homage to the original— just to 
let the guys know we haven't forgotten our 
source material here. We respect it! 

"There's a scene in the original where the 
projectionist in the movie theater is reading 
a book. Well," notes Del Close, "in the new 
Blob, they've got him reading a comic book. 
So, Chuck Russell— gracious fellow that he 
is — guess what comic book he has him 
read?" -^ 


(continued from page 22) 

OVERTON; Actually, I think our dream 
role would be in a snuff film. We would get 
blown -away in the first reel. 
POLLAK; I think our dream role would be 
in a porno version of IVitlow. It would be 
called Pussywillow, 

OVT-RTON: Yeah, a 12-inch tall brownie 
would come in real handy. 
POLLAK: Or how bout a porno version of 
Rambo cahed Rambu/tl We fancy ourselves 
comedic actors who can play the physical 
and intellectual side of any role. The most I 
could hope to get out of playing a brownie 
in billow is to get the accolades John 
Belushi got in Animal House, Willow is the 
first physically funny thing Tve done on this 
big a scale. 1 don't think anybody is going to 
see me in this film and say, 'There's the 
next Cary Grant." 

OVERTON: But something has gotta come 
out of appearing in something this big. Per- 
sonally. 1 would like to start getting the roles 
that Peter Sellers used to get. 
STARLOG: Do you have any embarrassing 
or funny Willow anecdotes? 
OVERTON: You mean everything we\e 
told you so far isn*t enough? Boy, this guy's 
asking for trouble! 

POLLAK: There were scenes where we were 
supposed to run into frame and stop. We 
would run into frame and keep on running, 
1 remember one day when Ron came on the 
set, we had everybody whistle the theme 
from The Andy Griffith Show. 
STARLOG: What's the one question you're 
tired of being asked? 

OVERTON; What's the one question 
you>e tired of being asked? 
POLLAK: *'When did you realize you were 
funny?" is a good one. 
OVERTON: "What dods it feel like to 
bomb?" That's a fave, 
STARLOG: How do you see Willow'! 
POLLAK: With m^ eyes. 
OVERTON: It deals with the same good vs. 
evil morality as Stan Wars. You're dealing 
with somebody who is not conventional be- 
ing given the opportunity to be a hero. 
POLLAK: It has more car chases than The 
Blues Brothers, more subtleties than Blade 
Runner. It's basic epic action adventure. 
STARLOG: Do you think there will be a 
Willow //? 

OVERTON: 1 hope so. 
POLLAK: It's up to where George sees the 
story going. There has been light talk about 
a sequel. But you never know. 
STARLOG: Will Willow make you 

POLLAK: I don't think there's a chance in 
hell of us getting that much attention. 
OVERTON: 1 would settle for getting a de- 
cent table at a restaurant. 
STARLOG: One final question: What is the 
big lesson you've learned from Willow*! 
POLLAK: Sign the sequel deal before you 
do the first film. 

OVERTON: And be sure to get a piece of 
the merchandising. 

36 STARLOG/September J988 


his is a film which is basically a 
triad/* says Robert Zemeckis, *'this 
huge, live-action, period detective 
story, this massive special effects film, and 
this fuU-lenglh animation film, all combined 
into one movie." 

So, since Back to ihe Future, as well as his 
wife having their first child, the 38-ycar-old 
director has made three movies — which you 
can see for the price of one admission ticket 
wherever Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is 

On screen, the story of Toons in LA and 
humans in Tooniown may seem to proceed 
effortlessly, but it was the result of a com- 
plex, painstaking and unimaginably detailed 
production effort, beginning with the 
screenplay. *The script was sent to me by 
my agents in Los Angeles," Zemeckis says, 
sitting in the screening room at the produc- 
tion's London animation studio, 'This was 
along lime ago. It has been around for years 
and years; I read the script the first time 
before 1 even did Romancing the Stone 
[which he discussed in STARLOG #85], 

"The Roger Rabbit screenplay did two 
things: one, it created a story where this type 
of animation, both in its artistry and its 
humor, had a place to be seen, because 1 
realized that animation humor is something 
that there is no forum for anymore. It used 
to be done in short films played in theaters, 
and then television destroyed the an form, 
because they just became these Saturday 
morning commercials for toys. 

•^Animated features tended to have to be 
stories about fables and fairies and magic 
and things like that, and cute little mice; and 
so suddenly there was this great idea for a 
movie where you could actually have a 
character who was like a short film-type car- 
toon character, where it was extremely fun- 
ny. That was the most important thing that 
attracted me to the project. 

'The second thing," the director details, 
"was that the screenplay actually cracked 
the nut as far as creating a story that let the 
illusion of Toons and humans interacting 
work. It suspended your disbelief. This had 
never really been done in a dramatic sense, 
because this sort of interaction stuff has 
always been a gimmick, a dance number 
routine. No one has ever attempted to ac- 
tually have brilliant actors like Bob Hoskins 
talking passionately to a crazy cartoon rab- 
bit. This script was a forum for that, which 
was all amazingly appealing to me." 

Who Drew? 

Exploring Roger Rabbit^ possibilities 
meant very substantial pre-produclion 
work, ''Basically, 1 felt that we had to do 
two things," Zemeckis says. "Wc knew we 
had Industrial Light & Magic, and our head 
visual effects supervisor, Ken Ralston, im- 
mediately excited about the possibility of 
doing something using the technique 
developed on all the Star Wars and special 
effects films, the ability to create these 
beautiful optical effects, but that didn^t 
have to do with spaceships and star fields 

Only the daring director has a clue— 

who makes the impossible look easy? 

Who makes the phenomenal seem invisible? 

And "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" 

and things that lately ilieyVe just been doing 
over and over again." 

ILM's skill of optically compositing dif- 
ferent original images onto the same piece of 
film would be vital to realisticaily integrate 
animated characters with live-action ones. 
*'What we have done," Zemeckis explains, 
*'is instead of il being just a model 
spaceship, we make il a cartoon rabbit, with 
personality and emotion, yet the same 
mechanical technique is used to create the 
imagery. So, they were very excited about 
using all their expertise to do something that 
was integral to the story's emotional thrust, 

rather than just to dazzle. We knew that 
they were ready to do this, they have 
perfected this system, so we knew we had 
the best people in the world for that. 

'Then, we had to go on this quest for 
who could do the animation, which was 
something that I hadn't paid attention to, 
like I don't think most 'people in the world 
do. It*s definitely an art form close to extinc- 
tion^ because there aren*t people around 

ADAMPIRANI, STA R LOG 's British Cor- 

respondent, profiled Bob Hoskins in issue 

ST AKLOG/ September 1988 37 

who are very good ai this sort of thing. We 
started lo search all over ihe United States^ 
for a great director of animation, and we 
couldn*i find one. 

"Then, as luck would have it, Robert 
Walts [Roger Rabbit's producer], who hap- 
pened to produce Indiana Jones and 
Raiders, came into Ambhn Entertainment 
with a tape of Richard Williams' work from 
England. 1 lo6ked at this tape of Richard's 
commercials, and a bit of a film that he did 
on there, and I said, 'This is the guy.* 

Williams, who won an Oscar for his 1971 
adaplaiion of Charles Dickens* A Christmas 
Carol, is a Canadian-born, London-based 
animator whose wide variety of work in- 
cludes lilies for the Pink Panther movies 
and his yet-io-be- finished epic The Thief 
Zemeckis chose him as Roger Rabbit's 
director of animation for several reasons, 
"li was both the combination of the anima- 
tion technique and the fabulous beauty of 
his work. It's like thai old great wonderful 
stuff that Disney used to dq," Zemeckis 
says. ''And he can do so many different 
styles, and so many different types — when 
he would do the humor stuff, it was great, 
and there's nobody alive any more who can 
do that." 

Zemeckis was uncompromisingly am- 
bitious about how he wanted the film's 
animation to look. "I always said that 
everything in the film's going to be a com- 
pilation of everything that had been done, 
so that basically broke down into three 
styles/' he says. "We were going lo use 
Disney technique of animation — they really 
perfected the art- form; and Warner Bros/ 
characterization, because the Warner car- 
toons always had the best characters; and 
Tex Avery humor — his cartoons were 
always the funniest. So, we've combined all 
three of these techniques which, because 
they were all in different camps for most of 
the '40s and *50s, were all separate." 

38 ST ARLOG/ September 1988 

position— acting only with their voice, 
"That was very difficult, and luckily we 

found a great voice for Roger right away, a 
really talented guy, Charlie Fleischer," 
Zemeckis says. "He was amazing, he was 
basically on the set the entire shoot: He 
would do the voice with the actors [so) there 
■was a timing thing that the actors could per- 
form with. 

"And then you just go off and cast the 
voices the way you would any actor, except 
that in my opinion, it's 10 times more dif- 
ficuh, because you must find people with 
what 1 call voice presence. There's a reason 
why I here's only one Mel Blanc, only one 
Charlie Fleischer — because this is a natural 
talent that on the surface sounds like it's 
something that should be very easy, but it*s 
noi. There are very few people who can do a 
voice characterization really well.'' 

Making a normal movie is a reasonably 
standard process: locations are sought, sets 
arc built, actors are cast, costumes are 
made; the actors are filmed playing then- 
scenes; and the pieces of film are edited 
together into a movie. 

Making Roger Rabbit wasn't like that. It 
required a unique process different from 
that of any film ever made. "It's very dif- 
ferent, incredibly complicated," Zemeckis 
observes, ^'complicated lo the point where, 
lo finish this fihn's post -product ion, we ac- 
tually had to publish a manual. 

"It took a lot of incredible pre- 
production. Everyone had to think of things 
ahead of time. 'Well, wait a minuie, 
everything must be raised above the floor, 
because all the puppeteers have to get 
underneath,' so all the sets had to be built 
six feel off the ground, 

"Basically for every shol, what we would 
say is, 'OK, now here's what we want to do: 
we want to have the guy hand the handker- 
chief lo the rabbit, the rabbit blows his nose, ■ 
hands it back, and then Eddie Valiant gives 
him the pictures, in one shot— how do we 
do that?* So, we would have these long 

"Live-actioii is much esslftr to dlrftct,*" Zsmeckls tells Rabbit and Hosktna. 

With ILM and Williams in place, 
Zemeckis had taken two steps along the 
path towards making Roger Rabbit. But 
before embarking on the one-way odyssey 
into an unknown area of filmmaking where 
Toons and humans live side by side, there 
had to he a more thorough exploration of 
the practical difficulties ahead. **We said» 
*Look, we're not even going to attempt this 
film if we can't do it perfectly,' '' Zemeckis 
relates. * 'So, we did a test that encompassed 
everything that we were told we could never 
do, and pulled it off. The test proved to us 
that we could make the film and create the 
illusion, sustain the illusion, and actually 
make the illusions invisible. Att the techni- 
que had to be invisible — that was the wat- 
chword. We never wanted anyone to be 
conscious of the massive technique involved. 
It had 10 live on an emotional level.'' 

However, before production proper 
could begin, there was still more work need- 
ed on the script. "I didn't actually do any 
writing," Zemeckis notes, "but I worked 

very closely with the writers for, I would 
say, almost a year, taking iheir first draft 
and refining ii and honing it. 

"I had never done a murder mystery 
before, and it's a very hard form lo put on 
film, because it's hard to keep tension, 
suspense and humor going when the whole 
point of the story is to deny the audience in- 
formation. U took a great amount of work, 
and the writers, Jeff Price and Peter 
Seaman, did a real good job on it. It's 
radically changed from the novel [Gary 
Wolf's Who Censored Roger Rabbit?]." 

Who Cost? 

Casting was another priorhy, particularly 
finding an actor for the lead role of Eddie 
Valiant. The movie character would spend 
most of the film with Roger Rabbh; the ac- 
tor would have to spend months imagining 
the Toon's presence. "It wasn't a simple 
casting decision," Zemeckis says, "but it 
was simple to know what J needed after get- 
ling into this project. Above and beyond 

anything, I needed a great actor^ because 
this was only going to work if someone was 
able 10 aci as if the rabbit was there— the 
only way 1 can describe it is ihat if he believ- 
ed that the rabbit was there, through his ac- 
ting ability, you, as the audience, would 
believe it, too. Then, of course, when you 
put the rabbil in there, it is there. 

"Bob Hoskins (STARLOG n32] was 
someone who appealed to me, because I feh 
that he had the right look for the part, not 
only in his physical sense, but in his ability to 
be likable and tough at the same time. I was 
intrigued by him, and then when we screen- 
tested him and he did a scene with an im- 
aginary rabbit, I knew he was the best. He 
made it really work." 

Casting the other roles ''was just basically 
the same as you would cast any film, except 
with this extra element," Zemeckis says. 
'*Chris Lloyd was a natural for Judge 
Doom. Having worked with him before, I 
knew he would really get into the part." 

The cartoon characters also required ac- 
tors, but they worked under a different im- 

(discussions with] all the people in- 
volved—Richard Williams. Ken Ralston, 
our special FX floor supervisor George 
Gibbs, our puppeteers, our mime artists, 
who would train the actors— mime was the 
key to this movie/' 

Who Shot? 

These discussions were used to resolve the 
. technical problems of filming the live action 
ilrst, before any animation began, A variety 
of mechanical effects, such as remote- 
controlled mechanical movemenl and Toon- 
imitating servo-motor robot arms were used. 
Once lensing began in Los Angeies and at 
England's Elstree Studios, directing live ac- 
tors whose Toon counterparts weren't pre- 
sent "became a pretty standard system," 
Zcmeckis says. '*Being the director, 1 was 
ihe only person who knew exactly what the 
rabbit was going to do. We had rubber dolls 

According to Zemeckis, Hoskins can be 
''likable and tough at the same time"— 
as Jessica Rabbit discovered. 

Zemeckis explains the infamous rabbit-in- 
your pocket scene to co-stars Bob Hoskins 
(left) and Roger Rabbit. 

made that gave everyone an immediate idea 
of exactly where the rabbit was going to be, 
and how tall his head was going to be. Ob- 
viously, it's never in the final Him, but we 
would rehearse with it and then do the 
scene. When we got the scene and we 
printed the takes that we hked, we would 
then do the scene again with the rubber rab- 
bit, and we would photograph it. That way, 
[he animators would have a reference, so 
they would be able to tell size, proportion 
and how the light was hitting a three- 
dimensional object, 

"That was one of K^n Ralston's sugges- 
tions early on, to say. ^We should have dolls 
made, so that we can have a photographic 
reference/ and that was invaluable. 

"Dean Cundey [the cinemalographer] 
and 1 had these conversations on the set, 
which were wonderful. See, you must 
operate the camera to leave room for 

jioincthing thai isn't there. Usually, what we 
do is we follow action with the camera," 
Zemeckis remarks. "But, let's say the rabbit 
was sitting here with us. He would finish his 
tea, and walk over to the leievision and turn 
it on; the camera would have to move him 
over there. Then, someone would say, 
'Well, is he moving fast enough?' or, Ms he 
moving slow enough?', and you would say, 
*Weil, how do we know?' and we would see 
how it felt. And of course, when the camera 
got to the TV, the special effects people had 
to be ready to turn the TV on, and move the 
chaifj and all these things. 

"We had these wonderful conversations 
where Dean would be watching the monitor, 
and he would say, *No, no, no, you're not 
leaving enough room for his ears, you're 
cutting his ears off.' He is actually a big car- 
toon fan, and he was really into the movie, 
helping to get it all to work." 

After live-action shooting of the real ac- 
tors and scenery had finished, Zemeckis had 
to edit the film, before the animation was 
drawn. "The editing process was probably 
the most difficult forme," the director says, 
"because I would only have one element, 
one actor, and Ihe other actor had to be im- 
agined by both my editor and me. 
Everything in animation is done to the 
frame, because each frame of animation is 
so expensive. [Therefore, the live action had 
to be cut exactly, too.] Editing is usually just 
laking the best pieces of performance and 
stringing them together to create a new bit 
of writing, but with this, you only had one 
side of the performance, and you had a 
voice on the other side, and so you must 
make these decisions based on nothing con- 
crete. It just took a great deal of time and 
hard work. - 

"We would have given anything to be 
able to do alternate shots, or alternate 

(continued on page 73) 

Wlaf Vtihie! 

Whsf MM. 
What Stsn! 



VOL. I Exposed and a Question of Priorities 
VOL. II Conflict and a Dalotek Affair 










The Cyclotmde {counter- 
atomic device) falls into 
the evil hands of The 
Crimsoi Ghost. Professor 
Chambers must retrieve 
it before its devastating 
power is unleashed^ 
Co-stars Clayton Moore 
(The Lone Ranger). 

12 Episodes #0775 


Seeking Lnlimited power 
and wealth through his 
demented scientific 
genius and an army of 
mechanical men. Doctor 
Satan battles The Copper- 
head, who is really Bob 
Wayne disgufsed by a 
copper mask and is 
determined to protect 
society from the evil Satan. 

15 Episodes #2835 

Tom Grayson pursues 
Lightning, a mysterious 
criminal, and his diaboli- 
cal weapon, "Thunder- 
bold." a death-dealing bolt 
of electricity launched 
from Wing, his super- 
plane, through eerie 
tropical jungles, against 
overwhelming odds. 

12 Episodes #1303 


A mild mannered radio 
operator says the word 

"Shazam" and is thunder- 
ously transformed into the 
mighty Captain Marvel, 
His quest to protect 
innocent people from evil 
use of the Golden Scor- 
pion, a metallic statue of 
the gods. 

12 Epfsodes #5001 


Co-starring Leonard Nimoy 
(Star Trek's "Dr. Spockl 
Two Zombies persuade 
a renegade scientist to 
construct a hydrogen 
bomb to blow the earth 
out of its orbit, A member 
of the Inter-Planetary 
Patrol must foil this plan 
despite incredible adversity. 

1? Episodes #5052 


The diabolical Dr. Vulcan 
schemes to get control of 
the Declmator (capable 
of causing devastating 
earthquakes) and plans to 
destroy New York City, Jeff 
King dons his rocket suit 
to become Rocket Man in 
a desperate effort to foil 
Vuican and save New York 

12 Episodes 



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D UFO VOL. II 59.95 

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New York, NY 10016 






Aitow 4 viestts for del'very. 


C.J. Cherryh 


Continuing her trips to the stars, the award-winning author looks 

to the future. 

Part Two 

\er eye is on the future. It is a future 
that neitiier she nor her readers will 

\iive to see. ft is a time when the 
footprints of man and alien will churn the 
dust of unexplored worlds. It is the millen- 
nium of gigantic, silent spaceships, living 
cities, that we shall not pilot. And yet, this 
future is ours. These things are gifts of the 

future to the present. They are gifts, . .from 
writer C.J. Cherryh. 

STARLOG; You began as a novelist, but 
you're expanding to other projects. YouVe 
collaborating with another novelist. What 
aspect of collaboration attracted you to 

C J, CHERRYH: Writing is a very solitary 
profession. You don't really get a chance to 
bounce off other people and learn. In the 
case with Janet Morris, she and 1 can write 
so much like each other that we ourselves 
cannot tell who wrote what paragraph. Bui 
our storytelling styles are different, and the 
type of characters we choose are different. 
When we collaborate, forcing each other to 
handle the other's characters, the other's 
kind of interna! development, it makes us 
better when we go apart and write by 
ourselves because now Tve got a whole new 
range of characters, types of characters that 
Tve never handled before. 
STARLOG: What process do you use in 
collaborating with another writer? 
CHERRYH: One of us begins with the 
opening situation— whoever has the 
characters who are involved first— and each 
one of us runs a set of characters. We are 
these individuals. Like in Kings in Hell, 
Janet is Alexander, I am Julius Caesar, and 
several other characters for each one of us. 
So, we become expens in a particular view- 
point. This way, when we fight for our side 
in the plotting, we're not pulling punches. If 
Janet can get the better of me, if Alexander 
can get the better of Caesar, we're reaily 
quite ready to do it! This is where we get the 
live feeling of real antagonism in the col- 
laboration. We don't have a situation in 
.which one of us writes something and then 
the other one gets through and retypes it and 


adds all this stuff. The thing is fused of 
separate shon bits placed end to end. 
STARLOG: YouVe also edited some collec- 
tions. What attracted you to that task? 
CHERRYH: It's a different kind of creativ- 
ity. It's also a chance to work with a group 
of friends, all of them plotting and planning 
together, almost like playing a game. It does 
get down to being real work. Now and 
again, when you're approaching deadlines, 
someone has a crisis and couldn't come up 
with their contribution in time and you have 
to fill up a certain number of words, you 
have to do something fast. I do not take 
submissions through the mail. All of the 
people on the projects have been invited on 
the projects specifically, face to face, by in- 
vitation only. It is not a collection of short 
stories; it is an ongoing story in which each 
one of us takes certain characters and is 
those characters, and we don't have any 
situation in which we can just drop in 
somebody who comes down the street. 

Mainstream fiction Is ^'temporally and 
culturally restricted," CJ. Cherryh com- 
plains. Science fiction, on the other hand, 
'Is a literature that began with 
technological ideas that is also t>ecomlt>g 
a literature of issues and moral choices/' 

MICHAEL VANCE is an Oklahoma-based 
freelancer and the creator/writer of the 
Holiday Out comic book series published by 
Renegade Press. His two-part interview with 
C.J. Cherryh began in STARLOG ffJ33. 

42 STARLOG/September 1988 

STARLOG: What are the strengths of 

creating ''shared universes"? 
CHERRVH: It's a new type of thing, and 
you can benefit from doing anything new 
■ for a while. To stretch yourself as a writer. 
To come in contact with new types of 
characters. Also, I don't like the short story. 
Vm not saying that short stories are bad, I 
just don*t like to do them, personally. The 
pieces of a shared universe are not short 
stories. It is a way to work in the shorter 
length to have the fun of developing a situa- 
tion and watching it explode, in say, 10,000 
words, but without the strictures of the 
short story. You can say, "Hey, I didn't 
have time to get Achilles out of his mess; 
would you kindly get him out of that crash^ 
ed helicopter?*' and your partner says, 
"Gee, thanks a lot," and proceeds to try to 
do it. You never know when you'll be hand- 
ed one of these. It's a challenge. 
STARLOG: Do you think it*s fair to say 
that most of your characters are reserved 

CHERRYH: Yes, because they're smart. 
It's very hard to write a character that you 
personally have difficulty agreeing with. 
You can^t consciously believe, "This person 
is a fool,'* and write him sympathetically. 
You can write a smart person being a fool 
when confronted by a situation that just 
happens to push one of their buttons. But 
somebody who doesn't stop and think is the 
type of individual I have very limited pa- 
tience with in real life. They may be a great 
plot generator but, frankly, I haven't liked 
them as heroes or as partners to heroes. If a 
person is still dumb enough to be running 
around with this individual who keeps foul- 
ing them up, then you have to ask If they at 
least have some socially redeeming qualities. 
I must say, I have worked with characters 
who are real fuses. Two of the most 
delightful ones that IVe worked with are in 
Heroes in Hell. Achilles, as created by 
Homer, is an intelligent man dominated by 
temper. The Achilles that Janet Morris and I 
have co-created (really more Janet's than 
mine, but I've handled him) is a rip because 
you know this guy is walking through the 
universe with a chip on his shoulder. He*s 
fun to do. Caesarian, Caesar's other son, is 
my creafion— the typical kid with a problem 
with his father. He's bright and everything 
else, but if you push that one button 
(especially his poppa), watch all his brains 

*'Tbe problem Is how mi>ch can you fit be- § 
tween the covers of one book," Cherryh 
notes, a problem she solved by ex|rioring 
the world that orbits The Faded Sun over 
the course of several volumes. 

iit ,.^ --i^'.--* 

'.I— 'ii' 11." .1 

■fd J 

— - 1 

fly out of the window. And then, of course, 
he has to mop up the situation- I can justify 
that in thai particular character because he*s 
young. Now, if he's still doing this when 
he's 40, he's a fool. Youth is an excuse. 
STARLOG; When you've created a society, 
you don^t often deal with politicaL . . 
CHERRYH: You haven't read Cyteert yet. 
If you loved the Congressional hearings, 
you'll love Cyteenl In fact, much of the 
novel does involve a political in-fight. I'm 
very interested in politics. But the problem 
in telling politics like it is, is you have to do 
some plot complications that aren't going to 
actually produce a real act ion -oriented 
story. A smart politician doesn't take to the 
streets with knives and clubs. A smart politi- 
cian operates with one or two words ex- 
changed in the Congressional cloak room. 
You have to do a great amount of setting up 
so that you can play that little scene. 
Because the dangers of the situation are 
already well understood by the reader, when 
the character says that, suddenly you realize 
there's going to be big trouble, and 
somebody has already double-crossed 
somebody else. That kind of story is the sort 
of thing where you have to have a well- 
developed universe. You must have a system 
that you understand well, and that the 
reader is privileged to understand. Other- 
wise, it just becomes talking heads. And 
writing the political aspect of a novel is a dif- 
ficult thing, particularly because of the com- 
plexity that you have to get across. One of 
the things that I was able to do, for instance, 
in Cyteen is to show the viewpoint of several 
different sides of a political quarrel. Every 
time you read one side, you swear up and 
down they're right. When you get the other 
side, you realize they're right too. 
Everybody'^ right, but the positions are 

. Jl'_ --f- 

mutually exclusive. So, you get into real-life 
political situations in which there is no neat 
solution. Somebody is going to get hurt by 
whatever is decided. 
STARLOG: Is SF a literature of ideas? 
CHERRYH: Yes, and 1 think it's a htera- 
ture that began with technological ideas and 
still works with technological ideas. It is also 
becoming a philosophical literature, a litera- 
ture of issues, a literature of moral choices. 
To a certain extent, there are science-fiction 
novels which are accessible to the general 
public because they deal with problems that 
the general public understands. Also, there 
are forms of science fiction which are much 
more in-field, and they are in-field because 
the degree of sophistication required of the 
reader in technological matters is very high 
and higher than the general public's know- 
ledge in that particular area. This doesn't 
mean that a novel that can only be apprecia- 
ted by a science- fiction audience is not a 
heavy book. Very frequently, it's heavier 
than many of them. When you give in to the 
more human aspects of things, such as 
politics, science-morality issues, near-term 
science and understandable technology, ■ 
then you tend to broaden your readership. 
STARLOG: Have you heard the criticism 
that mainstream literature is a literature of 
people and science fiction is a literature of 
machines, that the focus of science fiction is 
not on human relationships? 
CHERRYH: The problem with mainstream 

literature in that statement is that it's dealing 
with only one aspect of humanity. 
Mainstream falls short of understanding 
man's relationship to his creations and 
likewise the full relationship of mankind to 
the world he lives in and to the universe at 
large. The problem with mainstream is too 
narrow a view of mankind. They don't 
understand humanity as well as they ought 
to, to be holding themselves up as percep- 
tive. It's rather hke somebody with blinders 
on describing the track ahead of them and 
saying that anything that people are trying 
to tell them is happening to the side is irrele- 
vant. They concentrate; they have great 
micro focus. 

STARLOG: If mainstream is focused on 
human relationships on a one-to-one basis 
and in the family. . , 

CHERRYH: And also constructed tem- 
porally. Temporally and culturally 

STARLOG: Is SF weak in that area? 
CHERRYH: The problem is how much can 
you fit between the covers of one book. 
There is something to be said for a little hu- 
man microfocus inside SF novels. Examina- 
tion of the individual's personal day-to-day 
life and moral choices. This isn't saying that 
this hasn't been done in this field. People in 
mainstream who say this haven't read as 
widely as they should have before opening 
their mouths. 

STARLOG: For example, when SF or 
adventure movies are reviewed by Gene 
Siskel and Roger Ebert, Siskel al\^ays says, 
''I like movies about people, and these are 
not movies about people." Does he have a 
narrow focus? 

CHERRYH: Well, unfortunately, some of 
the movies do. 1 would not hold up the 
science- fiction movie as emblematic of what 

ST PiRl^OG/ September 1988 43 

S "If 8 exactly the same thing for me to slip 
~ back Into a less technicar sodety," IJke 
Hes*/a, Cherryh says, "as If s a reMaf for 
^ us to go back to nature for a week. 


Desphe cover artists' attempts to visualize 
her aliens, Ctierryh prefers to say as little 
as possible atxHJt her creatures and let 
"the reader's eye tHilld the missing parts." 

this field is able to produce. I am sorry to 
say thai there is still an emphasis on colored 
lights in SF films. There's nothing wrong 
with special effects, but these movies look as 
if they're planned around the special effects. 
It's almost like there has to be so much 
special effects per number of running feet or 
it doesn't fit the demographics. Art by 
demographics is the absolutely worst thing 
you can practice. It means you're not being 
as good as you can be, you're not taking ar- 
tistic risks, you're not being in the forefront. 
You're always going to listen to this week's 
reports about what was good at the box of- 
fice. Well, that doesn't do you much good, 
because your film won't come out for 
another two or three years! By that time, the 
craze is over, and planning around that sort 
of thing is absolutely lunatic. Not only that, 
if they're going to do a screenplay, they 
should absolutely concentrate on the 

Now, you say *'human interest." I don't 
care whether you're talking about a 
character talking to an A.l. [artificial in- 
telligence] embodied in steel wool. It doesn't 
matter how they look or that one of them is 
human or not human. All that matters is the 
dialogue, the level of writing, the skill, the 
acting ability, and the seriousness with 
which it's treated by everybody from the 
director on down. The best children's 
classics, in fact, can be read by people with 
PhDs and still be appreciated, and the best 
general viewing movies can be adored by 
people of all ages. But this is in general; 
when you set out to do The Robotmen Con- 

nor both novels and movies, the essence 
of science fiction lies not In vtrhether "one 
-' ^'-im Is human or not human," Chenyh 
»j«. "All that mattera Is the level of 

^ vinitlng, the skill and the seriousness with 

• which If s treated." 

quer the Universe, I'm afraid that's not the 
level of writing or production seriousness 
you want. 

STARLOG: Although you have certainly 
created your own number of aliens 
throughout your novels, you don't spend a 
great deal of time telling us what they look 
like. You seem interested in what the alien is 
as an entity. 

CHERRYH: Well, I could draw a parallel 
with the movies. The unkindest thing you 
can do to anybody's special effects is to 
throw white light on them. You have your 
alien wreathed in shadows and steam and 
stuff, and the reader's eye builds the missing 
parts of the alien, the solidity, the agility, 
everything that should go with a living 
creature. If youVe ever looked into an 
aquarium, the very alien shapes going back 
and forth, look at the mottles and the mus- 
cle control of an eel as it moves through the 
water. Special effects has trouble duplicating 
that kind of thing. Likewise, if you're going 
to attempt to create an alien, you shouldn't 
just lay it all out cold in words in such a way 
that you ignore the insides of a creature for 

(continued on page 64) 

In their He// series, "Janet Morris is Alex- 
ander and I am Julius Caesar," Cherryh 
notes. "This way, when we fight for our 
side, we're not pulling any punches.'' 

44 SlAKhOG/September 1988 

The ^'Rollerball" star hits the 

"AlienNation'' streets 

with Sam Francisco 

hot on thetrai of 

a Newcomer killer 


nside Ihe Slaglown saloon culkd the \ 
Bar. UN hard ro kJI whkh poUuies (he 
»ir worse: the slink of Ihe sour milk 
bevcru^e Ihul intoxicates Ihe alien palnms or 
the tension created b> the enlrunce of 
human police detiH^^live Mall Sykes. Sykes 
doesn't much like the Newcomers und (hey 
don't much like him— hut lhat\ OK 
because Sykcs didn't come lo the X Bar lo 
socialize. He's here to track down a killer, 
Ihe slimy Sla^ who pulled the Irigj^er on his 
partner and best friend. Scratch fhat: his 
partner and onfy rriend. 

''My name is Sykes," (he cop announces 
to Ihe tavern's inhabitants. The Newcomers 
lau^h. They ihink it's Tunny, (his human's 
name, because in their native tongue. Ihe 
syllables "Ss'ai k*.ss" translates roughly as 
''excrement cranium." Sykes isn'l amused. 
He came Tor informadon and he's determin- 
ed to ^€\ it — even if it means (empomrily 
blinding a few Slaj>s alon^ the way. 

"()riKinall>. I wanted Sykes to make 
Archie IfLinker lo(»k like Cinderella/' says 
James {/ioiierhail) Caan, Ihe actor starring 
as the hard-ed^ed cop who has (n>uhle deal- 
ing with Los Ansetes' new wave of lej^al 
aliens in Ihe science-fiction delective ihriller 
Atten.\aIion, earlier titied (}uU't Neat 
iSJARlAH; #130). "I mean, Sykes should 
be a real hi^ot, hate every nationality, 
everybody, everything. Vou can imagine 
where the aliens fell on that list. Sykes 
doesn't give a damn. Ihcn, his partner dies 
and he's even worse. 

''We talked aboul i( during reheaT\als. 
And il was good because I believe thai au- 
diences deserve an emolional reward for the 
character in addition to whatever else, 
whatever Ihe stoo point Is. At the end, 
when Sykes is willing to risk his life for the 
Newcomer people — he's gone from A to 
/ — it's good. It's good for Ihe audience and 
JTs good for Ihe actor. 

"Bui the character wavered a hit from 
reheapials. I came to work (he first day and 
they hired a black actor as my partner. I 
mean, after listening, what Ihe hell was that? 
Mow could you do tha(? What d<»es that 
make my character now? What kind of 
bi^<it am I? 






One's an alien— 
Mandy Patinkin — 
the other's 
not — James Caan. 
Together, they 
were Outer Heat^ 

'M wanted Sykes to make Archie Bunker 
look like Cinderella/' Caan reflects of his 
tough cop role. 

t': ■.! 

'*So then I jusl became, my characier 
became, an actor who was trying to get 
through amovie/' Caan laughs. "Now, Vm 
just a guy who doesn*l like this asshole 
Ipariner) and is very narrow-minded about 
this thing he wants to do. Until 1 get involv- 
ed |in the plot]. What really happens now is 
it makes you believe the story changes the 
character instead of the character changing 
through the story." 

Alien Teammates 

Sitting in his trailer behind the downtown 
LA tavern being used as the X Bar, Caan is 
busy juggling two conversations between 
biles of his aluminum foil-wrapped dinner. 
Caan— who sports a Dallas Cowboys jersey 
through much of AlienNation as a way of 
saying hi to his friends on the team— isn't 
fund of giving interviews. But he docs enjoy 
teasing reporters so it's difficult to get him 
to give straight answers to questions like, 
*'What attracted you to AUenNationV 

"The government was taking my house 
away/' Caan replies. 

[ncome tax trouble isn't accepted as the 
actor's sole motivation for being in this 
movie and it's suggested that there must 
have been pther offers that AUenNaiion 
beat out. "Yeah, I had a deal for a three- 
part Dating Game" jokes Caan. 

Most known for ** reality-based'' 
performances in films like Brian's Song, 
Thief, The Godfather and Hide in Plain 
Sigiu (which he also directed), Caan was in- 
itally uncomfortable with the idea of playing 
straight human to 250.CX)0 alien Newcomers. 
He was eventually relaxed by the tough, ex- 
citing, ungimmicky AlienNation script by 
Rockne S. {Twilight Zone) O'Bannon 
(STARLOG #106), "In the beginning, 1 had 
the script," he recalls. ''And of course, at 
that time> we don't know how it ends up. If 
anybody knew if a picture was going to be 
good or bad, we would all be very wealthy. 

CARR D'ANGELO, former Managing 
Editor of STARLOG, is now a IVest Coast 
Correspondent. He interviewed Batman 

screenwriter Sum Hufnm in COMICS 

Nobody sets out to make a bad one, 

'*But as it was in the beginning, I found 
myself almost apologizing. [People would 
ask,] *Well, what's the picture about?' And 
the word alien could not come out of my 
mouth. Like, uh-oh, Jimmy's sold out. But 
the script was very real. And i thought it was 
something that bridged the gap between the 
young people who would look at it in one 
way and the older audience who would see a 
great son of detective, French Connection 
thing to it. 

"IThe Newcomers] arc like boat people 
and it's only three years in the future. My 

belief is that if you set up something that's 
bigger than life, that's real hard to do. You 
have to make everybody else especially real 
so that your mind doesn't go back and make 
you realize, 'Oh, I'm in a movie.' It's really 
hard to get people involved if they're think- 
ing, "Hey, this wall is talking to me.' " 

Instead of talking to a wall, Caan found 
himself paired with one of the most ex- 
pressive actors around. Co-starring \n Alien- 

Nation as Samuel "George" Francisco, 
LA's finest Newcomer police detective, is 
Mandy Patinkin, A Tony-winning Broad- 
way performer, Patlnkin played the 
vengeful yet soulful swordsman Inigo Mon- 
toya in The Princess Bride (STARLOG 

"Mandy's just a great, sweet guy," says 
Caan. "Mandy is very delicate. He's a man, 
but he'sa very sweet, sensitive guy who's ex- 
tremely talented. I'm happy to say he's a 
friend of mine. And the minute he realizes 
how talented he is, he will lose much of the 
pain he goes through. 

"We've had some bad, horrendous days, 
believe me," Caan continues. ''Everybody 
would say so, this isn't like talking out of 
school. And every time I feel like I'm gonna 
get a little upset, I look at Mandy and I feel 

*'lt's just such a lesson in discipline. I 
rememt>er the old saying from when 1 was a 
kid: M cried because I had no shoes until I 
saw a man who had no feet.' Mandy sits in 
makeup like four hours every day. If that 
was me, I'm sure there would be eight 
murders on the set the second day I did it. 
How he does it is beyond me, Mandy's a 
saint. Naturally, he doesn't like it. I've seen 
him take the goddamn thing off and a quart 
of water will roll out of his head. And after 
eight hours in that makeup, your brain can 
get scrambled," 

Originally from New York— he was born 
in the Bronx and raised in Queens — James 
Caan began his acting career almost 30 years 
ago. ''\ never did anything else," he ex- 
plains, *Mn college, I switched majors every 
two weeks and acting was the only thing that 
held my interest. The reason 1 started was to 
slay away from the meat market. That's 
where I was headed— to be with the guys 
who lug beef all day long." 

Sykes (Caan) Is reluctantly teamed with 
Newcomer Sam Francisco (Patinkin) to 
find his first partner's murderer. 

46 STARLOG/September 1988 

New York coals 

Like many other New York stage actors 
in the early 1960s, Caan was called to 

Hollywood by television's insatiable appetite 
for new talent. After numerous appearances 
on TV series like Route 66, Wagon Train, 
Combat^ Ben Casey ^ The Untouchables znd 
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Caan made his 
feamre film debut in 1964^5 Lady in a Cage. 

During the last 25 years. Caan has made 
dozens of movies but says there are only a 
few he is proud of. Thief diXid The Gambler 
are two of his favorites as are the movies he 
made with director Francis Coppola — The 
Rain People, The Godfather and last year's 
Gardens of Stone. 

"It's very rare that you get a director you 
can totally trust," he comments, "where 
you can go in and not have an eye outside 
yourself, so to speak. Many times, you feel 
you still have to watch yourself. And when 
the director says, 'Good/ you say to 
yourself, *l don*t give a shit what he said, / 
don^i think U was good.' 

*'l have been with a few good direc- 
tors — like Francis — who really help you 
when you get lost at sea. And for that, 1 am 
very thankful. 

'*But there are not too many [movies Tm 
happy with], 1 can tell you. As a matter of 
fact, there are about Cwq or so Fve never 
seen, will never see, because I was so 
depressed about making them and I saw no 
sense at all in being depressed all over again 
watching ihem." 

And at produclion's end, Caan says ihat 
he still can't be sure if he has done good 
work. **You don't know because it's out of 
your hands," he says. "As an actor, you do 
your work and then you don't know. You 
have no idea what they're going lo cut, what 

Caan's character doesn't take too kindly to Newcomers, and they don't much like him, 
so he needs Francisco (Patinkin) to help him survive a tour of Slagtown. 

they think is good, what the director thinks 
is good, what Charlie thinks is good. 
There's no right or wrong. ]t*s opinion. 

'*So once you do your work, you have no 
idea what's gonna come up. The music can 
shit it up, the editor can shit it up — or make 

it better Once it's over, especially with me, 
Fm happy I don't have to go to work and 1 
don't have to give in to orders. You're hap- 
py it's over, period. Only when you see it 
can you puke." 

For Caan, acting is a career, not a 









*" Jonathan E. was the washwoman In 
Alabama who relused to get on the back 
of the bus," notes Caan of RottefbatL 

lifestyle- He puEs in his hours, does the best 
work he can and at the day*s end, he just 
wants 10 gel paid and go home. '*Quite 
ofien, Vm misunderstood when 1 say, 'It's 
not my life, it's my job/ ** he admits. "Peo- 
ple think thai means I don*t give a shit. 
Sure, I wanl to be the best actor in the 
world. But my life- is my family, my son, my 
friends. 1 don't know how anyone can find 
fault with that. Whereas a doctor who^ 
dedicated comes home and wants to talk 
medicine all night long? Horseshitl 

'Tor some reason, when you say, *It'smy 
job/ it sounds like. *Who gives a shit?' 
Well, that's not it at all. What I do, quite 
honestly and seriously and not in any way 
being humble, is not as important as what 
the garbage collector does. People make ac- 
tors more important. 1 go to the movies, 1 
stand-on line minding my own business, and 
the manager goes, 'Mr. Caan, Mr. Caan.' 
And I say, 'No, no, rto, Vm OK. V\\ stand 

'It's an actor's duty to remain true to the 
script," says Caan, dismissing claims that 
the thespian was lost as an athlete in 

was made later than 1968, but definitely 
"way before'' Neil Armstrong's historic 
small step. Unable to rectify the 
chronological contraditions, Caan is finally 
forced lo ask, '*Wait, when did we land on 
the Moon?'* 

"1969/' he's told. 

''No! We did?" he responds with mock 
incredulity. "We landed on the Moon? Ho- 
ly shit, I was too busy watching the god- 
damn basketball game. What an amazing 

"Actually/* Caan continues more 
seriously, "the way we did it was exactly the 

(continued on page 58} 

on line.' 'Oh, you can't.'' So, finally, they 
lake you through the line and the other 40 
people go, *Hey, Mr. Bigshot/ And I was 
just minding my own business, 1 just wanted 
to stand there. But other people make it very 
important [thai Vm an actor]." 

Lunar Games 

Before hitting the streets with alien cop 
Sam Francisco, Caan made two previous ex- 
cursions into the science fiction universe. In 
I968's Countdown, he played the first 
American astronaut to land on the Moon. 
When the film is brought up in conversa- 
tion, Caan is unsure of the production's 
relation in lime to the actual Apolio Moon 

Caan's initial impression is that the movie 

Before his AHenNaiion, Caan served with 

the voice of Darth Vader, James Earl 

Jones, for a sad look at the casualties of 

war In Gardens of Stone. 

48 ST AKLOG/ September 1988 



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Bewitctied and bewildered, a suddenly-big Josh (Tom Hanks) looks for the 
mysterious machine which granted his wish. 



Edging into the genre, 

TV's former Laverne sizes 

up a 12-year-old's 

extra-large fantasy. 

jhis movie has no special effects what- 
soever. I just want to tell you that up 
front/' explains Penny Marshall, 
more straightforward and businesslike than 
a fan of the old Laverne and Shirley TV 
show might expect. Now, she's a director, 
represented on screens this summer by the 
$17 million fantasy Big. 

Tired, knoshing on cold pizza, and anx- 
ious to return home, Marshall's exhaustion 
can't belie her affection for this modern-day 
fable of a 12-year-old boy who wakes up in 
the body of a 35-year-old man. It may be 
this same affection that blinds her to the 
reality that Big is chockful of ^'special" ef- 

fects. In a genre where "fantasy" often dic- 
tates the infusion of two dazzling visual ef- 
fects per page of script. Marshall has 
managed to fill the entire 20th Century Fox 
comedy-romance with character transfor- 
mations that rely more heavily on dialogue 
and acting than on the latex and makeup 
techniques of other genre films. 

It was this decision to let the writers and 
actors carry the movie that is partially what 
sets Big apart from the recent proliferation 
of body-switching movies that has so far in- 
cluded Vice Versa, Like Father, Like Son 
(STARLOG #124), and 18 Again. Marshall 
dismisses them and the inevitable com- 

parisons to Big with an almost Lavernesque 
air of nonchalance. 

"I haven*t seen the other movies," she ex- 
plains. "I was too busy making my own. 
Although 1 haven't seen them, I did read 
two of the scripts. We don't have anybody 
switching bodies with anyone else. Our 
movie is about a litde boy who has to deal 
with growing up, whereas the other movies 
dealt heavily with older people trying to 

SCOTT LOBDELL, New York-based 
freeiancer, has reported for COMICS 
SCENE QUARTERLY. This is his first ar- 
ticle for STARLOG. 

STARLOG/September 1988 53 

.-T ■-. ■ 1 ' .-1 

Josh (David Moscow) makes the wish 
every child maltes, not realfzlng the conse- 
quences. Despite Zoltar'5 magic, Marshall 
insisted they "play to reality throughout" 

recapture iheSr youth. We have no car 
chases, no guns, no anything like that. 

''Actually, the writers, Anne Spielberg 
and Gary Ross, wrote the first treatment in 
1984, before ihe oih^rs^ So, we were actually 
the first film on paper, but the last one on 
the screen. It was a conscious decision on 
ttie producers* part. Knowing about the 
other movies, they asked, 'Do we rush and 
make it a race, try and beat them? Or do we 
toake the movie we want to do?' We decid- 
ed to do the movie we wanted to do. 

She*s also quick to point out that this fan- 
tasy sub-genre, where characters find 
themselves in wish-fulfilled realities, isn't a 
plot that just suddenly appeared en masse. 

'^People have always been attracted to 
fantasy. /f\s a Wonderful Life is 'What if I 
never lived?* Back io the Fuiure, Peggy Sue 
Go! Married, they're all the same type of 
film in that wanting our life to be a little bit 
different is a universal theme. 

'' M want to be a grown-up/ 'I want to be 
big/ ^\ want to stay up late and do whatever 
I want ! ' Every kid has thought these 
thoughts at one point during their 

How can a classy, sophisticated female executive like Susan (Peridns) not fall for a 
guy who dresses tike this? Besides, Marshall says, "it's a love story." 


The movie opens with 12-year-old Josh 
Baskin (David Moscow of Kate and Aliie) 
living the life of any normal young boy rais- 
ed in a middle-class New Jersey suburb, out- 
side New York City. Mostly that includes 
playing computer games, hanging out with 
his best friend Billy Kopeche (Lady in 
White's Jared Rushton) and being hopeless- 
ly smitten by the class beauty. When a trip 

to a local carnival proves frustrating and 
embarrassing, (he can't reach the height re- 
quirement on a ride that he was intending to 
take in an effort to impress a girl) a mor- 
tified Josh seeks solace with an eerie-looking 
wish-making machine. 

Zoltar, a mysterious entity that inhabits 
the carnival's wishing machine even when 
the device is unplugged, listens emotionlessly 
as Josh makes his wish to be '*big.'* Nothing 

54 ST ARLOG/ September J 988 

happens. At least, not until Josh gets home- 
With the movie hanging on such a key ele- 
ment in the plot, wouldn't it be more honest 
to bill the film as a fantasy instead of the 
* 'comedy-romance" that it's referred to in 

"No/* answers Marshall. "I don^t feel 
that one has to do with the other. I think 
they^re equaL Big is more of a fable than a 
fantasy. After all, there isn't a machine that 
makes you big, at least not that / know of. 
We do have that scene— that is the movie's 
premise — but it's more about human 
behavior and emotions. It's a love story. 

"Aside from the premise, I find it a very 
difficult film to sum up in one sentence. lt*s 
a story about how to keep alive the child 
that's in all of tts. It's also about how a child 
shouldn't try to skip growing up. He should 
go through the process." 

But, skipping the growing process is ex- 
actly what happens when Josh wakes up the 
next day to discover he possesses a 35-year- 
old body — and is now played by Tom 
Hanks, the mermaid-smitten star of Splash. 
When an earnest attempt to convince his 
mother that he is who he claims to be, albeit 
in a much larger body, fails, Josh and Billy 
begin a search for the Zoltar machine and 
the means to restore him to his former self. 

"This isn't a sketch. We play to reality 
throughout," explains Marshall. Nowhere is 
thai more evident than when the two friends 
decide it would be best for Josh to hide out 
in New York City until they can locate 
Zoltar. As luck and Hollywood would have 
it. Josh quickly lands a job at a toy com- 
pany. Although he begins as a computer 
operator, a meeting with the company's 
president, "Mac" MacMillan (Robert Log- 

Although Big has "no car chases, no guns, no anything like that," Josh (Tom Hanks) 
doesn*t get through the film completely unscathed, allowing Susan (Elizabeth Perlcins) 
to come to his (first) aid. 

gia of The Believers), at F.A.O. Schwarz toy 
store provides one of the movie's most 
memorable scenes: The two play a giant- 
sized piano by dancing, hopping and leaping 
atop the keys. Although it took hours of 
rehearsal for the acrors, Marshall claims it 
was as much fun to film as it is to watch, 
maintaining that this is always the best way 
to tell whether the humor in a situation will 
find its way onto the screen. 
"On television, an audience will tell you 

immediately whether you *have It' or not, 
whether they're with you or not," explains 
Marshall. ''It's scary, but you also know 
that if it doesn't work while you're filming 
it, then it's not going to work on the screen, 
no matter what you do in the editing. 
Although with editing, you can cut, and 
splice, and tighten the pace, basically if it's 
not funny then and there, it's not going to 
get funnier on the cutting room fioor.'' 
When Mac responds to the child in Josh, 





V -^^ 

VS* r'^ 

Josh (Hanks) and pal Billy Kopeche 

(Jared Rushton) get silly. Josh isn't 

one of Hanks' usual "irreverent, 
Sarcastic, glib characters^ . . . 



--X-J..-' ^i^s"". 





.' AfS^ 


*»» M 


m ^^ 


. %^ 





- ."^ 

5 ^ 

' ' ■*-ij-*' 








^^^ t'm 



m% - -^^ 




Josh (Tom Hanks) shoKVS a board meeting wtiaf s wrong with a robot that turns into a skyscraper. Get it? 

Josh is promoted to Vice President in 
Charge of Toy Development. In his new 

position, he attracts the attention of Susan 
Lawrence {About Last Night's Elizabeth 
Perkins), who intends to seduce her way to 
the top. Wh^n she attempts to sink her claws 
into Josh, however, she quickly finds herself 
in love with this man who inadvertently uses 
honesty, innocence and sincerity to deal 
with corporate life. 

Big Deal 

Aside from fears of comparisons to other 
movies, Marshall had to work in the con- 
stant shadow of Hollywood's box office 

wunderkind, Steven Spielberg. Almost every 
press release and article related to the pro- 
duction mentioned that Big began in the 
hands of the mega-hit director, but Marshall 
dismisses any feelings of intimidation with a 
casual shrug. 

"The writers wrote a treatment, then a 
script, and they took it to Jim Brooks and 
his Crazy Films Productions. He liked it, 
and worked with the writers on Big. It was 
given to Steven Spielberg. It wasn't written 
for Steven Spielberg/' she stresses, 
'^although it was co-written by his sister. He 

56 SJARLOC/September 1988 

liked it, and was going to do the film with 
Harrison Ford. 

*'As it turned out, as it does many times 
in this business, schedule conflicts occurred, 
and he had to go off and film Empire of the 
Sun. Harrison went off and did Frantic. I 
don't know who else it was shown to after 
that, but it eventually came to me. So, I 
didn't replace Steven Spielberg. At least, I 
don't believe so," she adds with a laugh, "1 
just had a sensibility that the producers 
thought would be right for the film." 

When asked to speculate on the film, had 
it been a Spielberg/Ford feature instead of a 
Marshall/Hanks production, she rolls her 
green eyes and sinks deeper into the stuffed 
chair of her hotel room. **1 imagine that 
Spielberg's filmmaking, which is brilliant, 
because he's great at doing that science- 
fiction stuff— the adding, stretching and 
growing — that we would actually have seen 
Josh gelling big. 1 assume he would have 
done that. But this is only my second movie, 
and 1 don't know how to do that. So, I 

Deciding to head off any other questions 
regarding the many variations Big might 
have taken had Harrison Ford or Robert Ue 

Niro (one of Marshall's earlier casting 
choices) landed the role of Josh, Marshall 
takes a deep breath and begins answering 
questions that haven't been asked- 

"The bottom line is, Tom got the part. 
We waited for him because of what he could 
bring lo the part, not the other way around. 
When 1 direct, I'm trying lo tell a slory," 
she explains, revealing that the script didn't 
go through any changes as a result of 
Hanks' involvement. "Mi's not necessarily 
what's best for Tom, but Tom trusts that 
I'm protecting the film's integrity and his 

"In order to adapt to everything Tom has 
done, we would have had to write Josh as 
the character that was his best friend, Billy 
Kopeche, because that was more of what 
Tom often plays personality-wise. But this 
character of Josh, the one in the script and 
the one you see on tilm, didn*t have that 
type of personality in him, whereas Tom has 
it in him to play that. This is a sweeter, 
simpler, shyer and more innocent kid than 
the irreverent, sarcastic, glib characters that 
Tom has played in the past," 

As the co-star of Laverne and Shirley, 

(cotilinued on page 64) 



l9oy Thinnes takes a Journey to the Far 
■ »S/rfe of the Sun in this imaginative 1969 
Gerry and Sylvia Anderson SF future tale 
now available from MCA Home Video, in 
VHS and Beta HiFi mono, for $29.95, Set 
100 years in the future, Thinnes is a world 
famous astronaut who teams with rocket 
designer Ian Hendry to explore a newly 
discovered planet in the same orbit as 
Earth — only it's on the opposite side of our 
sun. An interesting double-twist involves 
their crash landing on a planet some three 
weeks earlier than expected, but have they 
only returned to Earth from an aborted 
journey or have they discovered a mirror- 
image world? 

In other acquisition news, RCA/Colum- 
bia wiU be distributing Lucasfihn's IVifiow, 
though no release dale has been officially 
announced. A yuletide launch is anticipated. 
MCA Home Video will release Steven 
Spielberg^s E. T. on Thursday, October 27 at 
the suggested retail price of $24.95. Follow- 
ing Disney's marketing policy, E^T. will be 
made available on videocassette for a limited 
time only. 

There will also be a special rebate pro- 
gram from Pepsi-Cola making it possible to 
purchase E^T. for an even lower price of 
$19.95. Several versions of this, the biggest 
grossing film of all time, ($700 million in 
box office revenues worldwide with more 
than 240 million paid admissions), will be 
: released. Look for £. T, in uncropped letter- 
box format versions on both laserdisc and 
cassette as well as a Spanish' language 
dubbed version. So far, there are no plans to 
make E.T. available to the pay-per-view 
and/or pay television marketplace. 

CBS/Fox Video has taken a permanent 
price reduction on five new titles and added 
them to the 18 others which made up a 
special price break in January. Look for 
ALIENS, The Fly, The Towering Inferno, 
Cocoon and Short Circuit, all marked down 
to $29.98, Also, Mark Hamill fans will en- 

joy his performance in Sam Fuller's WWII 5 
story The Big Red One, Other ac- = 
tion/adventure titles include The Blue Max^ 
(with a great Jerry Goldsmith score) and the | 
immortal performances of Humphrey | 
Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in The 
African Queen. The Longest Day (Oscars 
for special effects and cinematography), ^ 
Patton (seven Oscars) and Tora! Tora! | 
Torat (Oscar for best special effects) are | 
three of the greatest WWII epic films ever ^ 
made; other classics included are: The | 
Agony and the Ecstacy, Cleopatra, The Bi- ^ 
bie and The Robe. Be warned, though, j 
These last titles suffer quite a bit in home 
video as they were designed for giant 
widescreen presentation. Severe cropping of 
the panorama screen and reduction to the 
TV-size screen only diminishes their appeal. 

Reduced permanently to $19.98 from 
CBS/Fox are ALIEN, Phantom of the 
Paradise and The Day the Earth Stood SOIL 

A collection of 102 foreign films are being 
■distributed by Nelson Entertainment (at a 
suggested retail price of $29.98 each), giving 
everyone the opportimity to experience 
some 60 years of fascinating filmmaking 
from overseas. And there's no better place 
to start this collection than Jean Cocteau's 
Beauty and the Beast, starring Jean Marals 

Among the titles of particular note is Fritz 
Lang's harrowing suspense thriller A/, star- 
ring Peter Lorre as the psychopathic child 
murderer who is hunted by the criminal 
underworld as well as the police. The Testa- 
ment of Dr. Mabuse was Fritz Lang's sound 
sequel to his stylish silent epic about a 
criminal mastermind ruling an evil empire 
from prison; it was a shocking challenge to 
Adolph Hitler, and was banned by Pro- 
poganda Minister Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels 
before its release. Mabuse was the last film 
Lang made in Germany. 

Jean Marals Is the maned man amidst the 
grass in Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the 
Beast, on video from Nelson. 

Roy Thinnes (right) takes a vUeo Journey 
ro the Far Side of the Sun wKh Ian Henc^ 
and Lynn Loring. 

A number of other classic German films 
from the '30s include G.W, Pabt's adapta- 
tion of the Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weil The 
Threepenny Opera, starring Lotte Lenya as 
Pirate Jenny; Leni Riefenstahl^s electrifying 
documentary of the 1934 Nazi Party Con- 
gress in Nuremberg, The Triumph of the 
Will; Olympia, Riefenstahl's S'/i-hour paen 
to the 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics, which 
includes American Jesse Owens' un- 
precedented win of four gold medals (to 
Hitler's frustration) and the decathalon with 
American Glen Morris winning the title of 
the worid's greatest all-around athlete. 

From France, there's a collection of Jac- 
ques Tati's uniquely brilliant comedies, in- 
cluding Jour de Fete, Mon Oncle (Academy 
Award for Best Foreign Language Film), Af, 
Hutol's Holiday and Playtime. If you've 
never experienced one of Tati's remarkable 
films, you are missing one of the greatest 
sight gag and comedic performers of all 
time. Tati was a master of comic timing and 
comedy of character. 

Japan is represented by the films of Akira 
Ktirosawa, including the Academy Award- 
winning Rashomon, The Seven Samurai 
(remade in the U.S. as a Western, The 
Magnificent Seven, and as the SF adventure 
Battle Beyond the Stars), Yoftmbo, a 
parody of classic Westerns with Toshiro 
Mifune; Ugetsu, Mizoguchi's classic story of 
two peasants in war-torn 16th century Japan 
who abandon their families to seek iheir for- 
I tunes in the spoils of war; and lnagaki*s 
> Academy Award-winning Samurai trilogy 
I starring Toshiro Mifune as Musashi 

And last but not least is a STARLOG 
I'favorite, 1959's Le Voyage en Balloon, 
\ about an eccentric inventpr who floats off in 
a 60-foot tall orange hot-air balloon for an 
adventure across France with his grandson 
as a stowaway, written and directed by 
I Albert Lamorisse with a effervescent score 
^ by Jean Prodromides. 

^David Hutchison 

ST AKLOQ/ September 1988 57 



(continued from page 13) 

Thai, lo me, is the lihii's most important 

iti the eyes of many, used to the low- 
budget. SF monster pictures of the '50s, 
literary classics and science fiction are a 
strange, unlikely mix, especially on telsr 
vision. So, what draws a man of Ken 
Johnson's elevated interests to SF? 

"Well, noihiEig, actually/' he replies. **1 
certainly have dune a lot of science fiction in 
my years of television — the bionic shows 
and so on. If you do something successful in 
one genre, then that's what they want you to 
do from then on for the rest of your life. It*s 
not only actors who gel typecast, writers, 
producers and directors do also. It evolved 
that way, that I did one science-fiction pro- 
ject after another, until 1 finally said I 
wouldn*l do anymore. I've avoided them in 
television lately. They asked me to do Beau- 
ty and the Beasiy for example, and two or 
three other pilots last year, all of which I 
turned down because it was just more of the 
same. I enjoy immensely doing comedy, 
which 1 haven*l had a chance to do that 
much of. One of the fun things for me 
about doing Shori Circuk 2 is that people 
will see thai I have a pretty good comic 
range and that 1 can make things other than 
just one kind of product. 

■*Quite a bit of Shon Circuit Ts humor 
comes from Number Five. Whenever you 
anthropomorphize an object, it immediately 
takes on humorous aspects. R2-D2 and 
C-3P0 were really endearing and funny 
robots because we had given them human 
qualities, 1 mean, how many of us have 
names for our cars, and treat our cars, or 
our lawnmowers or whatevers, as though 
they were alive and could lalk back and re- 
spond? I think that when the car starts lo 

lalk back, or the robot begins to talk back 
or behave in a human way, il's amusing 
because it's something behaving like a 
human which shouidn'i be/' 

Does Johnson have something planned 
for after Shon Circuil 21 "Yeah,'' he 
replies. ''We're working on a script that we 
were developing for Tri-Star before I got in- 
10 :his picture. Breakthrough. It's about a 
New Jersey policeman who gets shot in the 
line of duty and becomes a quadriplegic. 
There's only one fantasy element in the 
movie. He gels a new kind of spinal implant 
to re-stimulate his nerves and see if he can be 
made to walk again. It works part way — he 
gets his arms back but not his legs. 

''He begins to get phantom sensations 
and starts to see through the eyes of some- 
one who has had an identical implant and 
finally sees a murder being committed. He 
goes to New York in his wheelchair, a fish 
out of water, to try to solve the murder, and 
of course no one will pay any attention to 
him," Kenneth Johnson explains. 
"^Breakthrough's a murder mystery thriller, 
but what it's really about is a man coming to 
grips with impotence and learning how to be 
a whole man again," 


(continued from page 48) 

way NASA did it. It was one of [director] 
Bob Altman's first films. In the last two 
weeks, it was taken away from him by the 

Countdown ends on a strange and ironic 
note. Heading in the direction of what he 
thinks is a previously launched lunar shelter, 
Caan's character discovers that a Russian 
expedition has already reached the 
Moon— but the Soviet spaceship crashed 
and the ihree cosmonauts aboard died. With 
his air supply running out, there is not much 
time for Caan to find the shelter and re- 
establish radio contact with Earth. 

To this day, Caan is still unsatisfied with 
the film's final sequence in which the 
American astronaut, after hanging both the 
USA and USSR flags, uses a mouse-shaped 
compass conveniently found among the 
Soviets' gear to locate the NASA shelter In 
lime, "That was one thing that really pissed 
me off," he says. 'The producers came 
in^it was not Bob— with this mouse and a 
bunch of horseshit. Bob's idea was to have 
the guy walking away, but you don't know 
lexactly what's going to happen). 

''He spins the mouse," Caan sneers. 
"Here's a guy who has been trained for 
eight years and he spins the mouse." 

In 1975, Caan skated into the fulure as 
Jonathan E., world champion o( Roi/erbait, 
the ultra-violent roller-derbyish sport 
designed to replace imernationai warfare in 
a world controlled by corporations. While 
both AiienNation and Rollerbali present 
dark looks at the near future, the Hlms, ac- 
cording to Caan, have one very major dif- 

"We didn't have any aliens in 
Rolierbal!,'' he says. **Wait, wait, that's not 
true. The assistant director was an alien. 
Just for awhile, though, because he didn't 
know what the skates were. He used to eat 
them with lox and cream cheese." 

To prepare for the demands oi Rollerbali, 
Caan thought long and hard about the kind 
of man Rollerbali captain Jonathan E. 
would have to be— and how he would deal 
with his forced retirement. "The Tilm's 
reviews were good," Caan recalls, "but 
there was one idiot from a big paper who 
said, 'Well, we saw James Caan the athlete, 
but where was James Caan the actor?' The 
point is that it's an actor's duty to remain 
true to the script. And I couldn't be 

Countdown marlced Caan's giant step for 
mankind before NASA's own lunar landing. 

5 anything other than a guy who was brought 
up to play this damn game from the time he 
? was 16. His emotions didn't come into play, 
2 You accept this. 

I "Jonathan E. was the washwoman in 

I Alabama who refused to gel on the back of 

* the bus. She was not a learned woman, but 

i without her, there was no Martin Luther 

King Jr. Jonathan E. just questioned the 

system. They took his wife and he never said 

anything. Suddenly, he's asking, *Why do 

% you want me out of the game?' He doesn't 

know why, 

"He's a guy who loves that game. That's 
the way he was raised. And to act anything 
beyond that is selfish and wrong. And you 
can't be good in a bad picture, period. So, 
you sometimes just swallow some ego or 
whatever and do only what's right [for the 

"They write the script. And it's written 
that you're a shit or it's written you're a 
good guy. You don't play that— it would be 
like putting black strokes on a black thing. 
In other words, you can't say, T— you' 
nicely. It's in there," 

Nominated for a Best Supporting Actor 
Oscar for his performance as Sonny Cor- 
leone in The Godfather, Caan was again the 
subject of Academy Award gossip last year 
when some critics suggested he deserved 
recognition for his role in the Vietnam-era 
drama Gardens of Stone. Despite the 
speculation and critical kudos, however, 
Caan was certain it would not be his year. 
"No, no, absolutely no, never," he reacts at 
the suggesuon he might have gotten an 
Oscar nod, "I don't care what the reviews 
are. I'm just dealing with the facts. 

**For example. Hide in Plain Sight had 
the best reviews you've ever seen. But the 
picture was a picture about people. It was 
grey, it wasn't black and white. There were 
no sharks, no elevators crashing, no fires 
and no airplane disasters. 

"Tri-Star declared early on that they 
weren't putting a penny in [on Gardens of 
Stone Oscar nomination advertising in 
Hollywood trade papers]. And not unlike, 
unfortunately, the Heisman Trophy, if there 
isn't a ton of publicity, you're a dead 

duck— and that's not good. And this is a 
fact. The people in the Academy are be- 
tween age 80 and death. Alhyou have to do 

to gel an Oscar is either be dying or be dead. 
And that's not to say all the decisions have 
been hke that. But there's something very 
political about it. 

**Most of the nominees are liked more 
than judged. And the studios have their 
blackballs and whatnot and only put the big 
[public relations] money behind certain 
stars. I think it has all made the Academy 
Awards a lesser thing than it once was." 

But even a ''working man's actor" like 
James Caan is ultimately wowed by Oscar's 
undeniable charm, *'lt's a great honor, 
mind you," he says. "I fell that when I was 
nominated. And if I won one, 1 would really 
feel wonderful," ^ 

58 STARLOG/Seplember 1988 






. *'.- ,-ii J i_ 

Darkness descends on a world of eternal sunlight and a civilization 
L. collapses, as Isaac Asimovs classic story comes to the screen. 


The end of their world is near, and only Aton (David Bimey), "an Isaac NewtofvlvDe 
astronomer with a surprising sensuality," is the voice ol r 


".- ^ -: 



- 't. 

L I 


magine Darkness — everywhere. 

No light, as far as you can see. 

The houses, the trees, the fields, the 
earth, the sky^black! And stars thrown in, 
for ail / know— whatever they are. Can you 
conceive it?" 

—from *'NightfaU" 

Isaac Asimov was just 21 when he wrote 
^'Nightfall," which made its first ap- 
pearance in the September 1941 issue of As- 
tounding Science Fiction, "1 didn't write 
that story any differently from the way I had 
written my earlier stories," Asimov wrote in 
the foreword to Night/a// and Other Stories. 
Yet this was the one that established the 
young author's name; suddenly, '*the world 

of science fiction became aware Ehat I ex- 

Producer Julie Corman first discovered 
"Nightfall" in 1979, via a review of an 
Asimov anthology in the New York Times. 
Taken by dramatic stories "about people 
who have recognizable moral dilemmas," 
she bought the screen rights shonly 
thereafter. In searching for a writer to adapt 
the work (Asimov politely turned down the 
assignment),' Corman approached Paul 
Mayersberg, who by then had written The 
Man Who Fell to Earth for Nicolas Roeg. 
(Later, he would pen Roeg's Eureka and 
Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas, Mr. 

When Mayersberg passed on the project, 
Corman went to work with a succession of 
writers, none of whom was able to satisfac- 
torily solve the problems inherent in 
fashioning a cinematic treatment of 
Asimov^s taie— essentially a debate between 
the scientific and religious factions of a 
planet with six suns that is about to be 
plunged into darkness by its first total 
eclipse in a thousand years, 

"The problem was getting a script that 

KYLE COUNTS has an LA-based writer 
who has contributed to Cinefantastique. He 
examined the Spider-Man movie in 

60 STARLOG/September 1988 

Sofs servants step lively across standing sets that stream from their surreal 
surroundings, namely the sandy city ArcosantL 

had the essence of 'Ntghifall' and also had 
good, involving characters," says Corman. 
''Some of the scripts that we developed were 
excellent on the science-fiction elements, but 
they weren't very visual. In other versions, 
the characters were incredibly good but 
Asimov's philosophical war of words had 
been played down. Along the way. we en- 
countered the usual money problems, so the 
project was put on the back burner/' 

When the film was once again a go, Cor- 
man went back to Mayersberg, having 
recently seen his first directorial effort, a 
visually stunning thriller titled Captive, star- 
ring Oliver Reed. As it happened, 
Mayersberg was free and still interested—// 
he could attach himself to Nightfall as 
writer/director. Corman agreed. That was 
in June 1987; Mayersberg wrote the script in 
five weeks in London, currently his home, 
and began an eight-week shoot in October 
(after a rewrite to accommodate the film's 
location) under Roger Gorman's New 
Horizons banner. As of May of this year. 
Nightfall was in limited-engagement 

regional release, a distribution schedule that 
Concorde Pictures plans to continue 
through the falL 

Mayersberg is an enthusiastic admirer of 
Asimov's work, especially the /, Robot 
tales. Does he feel the author's stories are 
difficult to translate to film? "1 think 
they're pretty much impossible" he replies 
candidly, "li^s not worth doing the big 
novels; the scale is too large, Tm of the 
belief that, in general, film is not a very 
good medium for science fiction, it's visual, 
and therefore not very imaginative. Movies 
don't work well when it comes to picturing 
large landscapes, and so forth; film can only 
show you what exists, that which we can 
already see with our eyes, If you want to im- 
agine a city in space, you have to build a 
model— and frankly, it looks like a modeK" 

Night Heat 

"Nightfall'* was less problematic to 
adapt, Mayersberg believes, because it 
works on a very basic dramatic level. In the 
story, we find Aton 77 (all numbers follow- 

ing the characters' names would later be 
dropped by Mayersberg), director of Saro 

University, chastizing Theremon 762, a 
newspaper columnist for the Saro City 
Chronicle^ for his coverage of the planet's 
mounting crisis: Of their six perpetual suns, 
only one— Beta— is left. In just four hours, 
according to Aton's calculations, theirs will 
be a world without sunlight and, "Civiliza- 
tion, as we know it, comes to an end/* The 
impending nightfall- something no one on 
the planet has ever experienced — terrifies the 
populace: Will madness come with the 
darkness? What will life be like without 


In Mayersberg's script, the two lead 
characters (the only ones retained from the 
story) are Aton (played by David Bimey), 
astronomer and leader of the city, and Sor 
(Canadian actor Alexis Kanner), leader of 
,the Believers (called the Cultists in the 
story), Sor claims to be "the interpreter of 
the Book"— the Book of Illuminations, 
which outlines the fate of the planet in scrip- 
ture form. Aton is a rational thinker, Sor, a 
blind prophet (though he isn't blind in 
Asimov's story). There is also a female 
character named Roa (Superman IPs Sarah 
Douglas), who was once married to Aton 
but left him to become one of Sor's 
disciples. Cornian describes Mayersberg's 
character as being "rather like those found 
in Greek mythology. They were his creation 


What these two men stand for is, as 
Mayersberg puts it, "exactly the relationship 
between science and religion as a means of 
explaining the world. As for the Day of 
Judgment, do you believe the religious view 
or do you subscribe lo the scientific view 
that it*s nothing more than an eclipse and is 
a part of the movement in the universe? The 
Believers are fundamentally religious. 
Aton's followers, the city dwellers, represent 

the scientific point-of-view,*' 

Mayersberg's interest in Nightfall was 
kindled by his desire to make a science- 
fiction film where the past and the future 
were blurred. "When Asimov begins to talk 
about a world that has known nine 
nightfalls before this one, he's really talking 
about archaeology," says Mayersberg, "It 
struck me that there is a curious connection 
between archaeology, which, after all, is the 
study of layers of the past, and science fic- 
tion, which is an invention of layers of the 
future. The idea that the future and past 
could merge, that there was no difference 
between history and futurism, interested me, 

"The concept of suns in the sky made me 
think of Egypt, say, 5,000 B.C.," continues 
Mayersberg. '^So that what you have is a ci- 
ty in a desert which could well be the 
equivalent of what is now Asia Minor in the 
Middle East, on another planet. This desert 
could be any desert; the film could have 
been shot in Morocco, for instance, and still 
have been true to Asimov^s story." 

Mayersberg recalls that it was Roger Gor- 
man who suggested the location where 
Nightfall was eventually shot: an organic ar- 
chitectural development in the Arizona 

Rather than let them go Insana as they do In Isaac Asinnov's story, writei/dlrector 
Mayersberg has his "low-tech" people head for the hills as the suns vanish. 

desert called Arcosanti, built at World War 
irs end by Italian architect Palo Soleri, a 
pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright. Portions were 
also filmed in Cosanti, just outside Scotts- 
dale, and in the Tonto National Forest, 90 
miles away. Located between Phoenix and 
Flagstaff, Arcosanti is an open commune 
that houses some 50 people, all of whom live 
there and work die surrounding land. 
Mayersberg rented the property from Soleri, 
who resides there, and used several of the 
locals as extras in the film, some of whom 
were paid not to work during filming so that 
the production company could have full use 

of the facilities. 

Arcosanti's timeless quality was ideal 
because Mayersberg saw Aton's planet as 
having a very primitive culture, "My film is 
extremely \ov!'\^)\,'' says Mayersberg. (The 
budget, which was less than $2 million, 
would support that assertion,) "Instead of 
hardware and lasers, I used strings and 
elastic bands and crystal swords, whatever 
the people who lived on the planet could 
find that might exist or, in the case of 
something like a kite, could build. I wanted 
to omit the present totally, and work on 
merging the past and future. Dune is a good 
example of a work of fiction that doesn't 
really tell you what age it's set in; it might be 
the future, it might not. Some of it's quite 
medieval and primitive, yet some of it's 
sophisticated, too.'' 

Since this is a planet surrounded by a 
number of suns, which Mayersberg reduced 
to three, creating perpetual sunlight for 
filming purposes presented its own 
challenge, especially since it rained three out 
of the five weeks of shooting. "When 
you're making a film with three suns and it's 
pouring down rain, you can imagine the dif- 
ficulty of the situation,'' Mayersberg jokes. 

Night Shift 

Mayersberg agrees that *^Nightfair' is "a 
very famous story, but it's not a particularly 
good one. Asimov himself seems extremely 
embarrassed about its reputation as his best 
story. It doesn't have much of a plot when 
you look closely at it; what it has is a situa- 
tion. At its most basic, it's a story about 
how human beings are naturally rational 
and have this magnetic pull to the spiritual. 

Messiah, madman or miscreant? Only Sor 
(Alexis KanneO knows what he really Is, 
but he's not putting that In his sermons. 

It's a war that wages within us all, which we 
never really resolve except by denying god or 
embracing science, or by accepting god and 
rejecting the rational. 

'* *Nightfair was, forme, about a slate of 
mind, not about a sequence of events," 
Mayersberg says. "I tried to present that in 
terms of the characters' lives and the way in 
which the film is constructed, which is not 
so much in dialogue as image. I intended the 
film to be about ways one can approach a 
life crisis. What do you do? Do you go mad, 
do you become rational, cowardly, throw 
reason to the winds? Do you try to figure it 
out, do you suddenly become religious? This 
is a story where there's a sort of nervous 
breakdown in the society where these people 
live, and how they cope with it." 

Mayersberg feels that Asimov's story 
.quite effectively evoked the claustrophobia 
that comes with sensory deprivation. 
However, his adaptation takes a "less 
hysterical view" of the nightfall's outcome. 
"Firstly, I don't think we, as human beings, 
are all that afraid of darkness," he offers. 
"So, you're dealing witn something that is 
frightening to these characters but not to 

(continued on page 63} 

STARLOG/September 1988 61 


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(continued from page 61) 

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what's the big deal?' In other words, it 
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*'I thought it would just look silly, quite 
frankly, to have these people losing their 
minds and foaming at the mouth about the 
sky going black. Of course, they^re frighten- 
ed of what will happen when the suns go, so 
they make an underground world where 
they can hide out and wait and see what will 
happen. Beyond thai, I didn't want to get 
caught up in a lot of projection about the 
eclipse's impact on the physical environ- 
ment. There are enough Soylent Greens, 
and they're never very convincing." 

Mayersberg chose actors whom he 

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thought were "interesting rather than con- 
ventional.*' In searching for an actor to play 
Aton, "I tried to find someone who could 
create an Isaac Newton-type astronomer 
and also suggest a surprising sensuality. I 
didn't want an intellectual astronomer but 
an astronomer who might, in a Renaissance 
way, be a man of action, a leader of the city; 
at the same time, he might be a drunk, 
someone who could become sexually obsess- 
ed with a strange woman. I felt that David 
could handle all the character's varied 


Alexis Kanner was the only cast member 
Mayersberg had known previously. The 
director wanted Sor to be played by some- 
one who was very charismatic, "quixotic, 
on the brink of being a charlatan. Because 
you never know; he's supposed to be a blind 
prophet, but maybe he's having you on. i 
wanted to create the idea that one minute he 
was a visionary and the next, a rip-off artist. 
There are moments when you even wonder 
if he's blind; that's deliberate. He's someone 
you don't quite come to grips with, whom 
you can't quite explain." 

While Asimov's story ends with a simple 
'The long night had come again," 
Mayersberg offers his concept of NighifalPs 
epilogue. ''My view was, when the darkness 
finally comes, the stars come out and it gets 
cold and it begins to snow. There's a new 
kind of world that is suddenly open to these 
people; it's not the end at all, but another 
beginning. Asimov, of course, never dealt 
with what happened when nightfall occur- 
red. He stopped as the last sun went. 1 knew 
1 had to deal with the eclipse's aftermath, 
because if you're making a film called 
Nightfall dind you don't deal with what hap- 
pens when nightfall comes, the audience 
feels cheated. In my story, another worid is 
born; the same people will be on the planet, 
only they will now live in darkness. In a 
way, it's very optimistic." 

To that end, Mayersberg feels he has been 
"incredibly faithful" to Asimov, expanding 
the story to include elements from the pro- 
lific author's other writings. "1 don't lose a 
moment's sleep worrying about fidelity lo 
Asimov, because I think I've been very 
faithful to his work. I think he'll be pleased 
with its content, if not rather surprised by its 
form." {While Asimov remained a consul- 
tant throughout the project's evolvement, 
he did not confer with Mayersberg, and has 
not yet seen the finished film, according to 

As for audience expectation, Mayersberg 
dismisses the subject by saying he is con- 
cerned about it "not at all." Who, it is ask- 
ed, will come to see MghtfalP. "That's an 
impossible question," he replies. "People 
who know Asimov, people like that. I don't 
really feel the need to pander to the genre at- 
titudes that we have in cinema, which we 
don't really have in books to the same 
degree. I didn't make the film ./or any 
specific group. Jean Cocteau once said that 
if you have a work of art, and you know 
which way to hang it, then it no longer has 
any value. I'm really not anxious to fall into 
the trap of limiting the appeal of my filmsV^V 

ST \KhOQ/ September 1988 63 


(continued from page 56) 

Marshall played the part of a hard-luck 
brewery employee opposite Cindy Williams. 
Marshall cites her work as occasional direc- 
tor on the show as her training ground for 
feature films, 

**I did act and direct at the same time on 
the show/' says Marshall, quickly adding, 
**but I was always written very lightly on 
those weeks. It was usually a Lenny and 
Squiggy episode, so 1 would only have to be 
in it a little bit. If you watch those episodes, 
Tm frowning throughout most of it because 
I'm watching the cameras as well as noticing 
what the other actors are doing. My concen- 
tration was split* 

**rm still ^fixing' Laverne and Shirleys 
from the first season," she reveals of her 
pre-directorial days. 'Tike, 'If we had 
crossed over here, that would have worked a 
little better/ But that's just me. 

*'And I have no interest in acting and 
directing a film/' she confesses. ^'Having to 
look at myself for six months in post- 
production is no£ my idea of a good time. I 
would rather look at Tom. 

'There's also a big difference between 
that and spending a year-and-a-half on a 
film where you're working in a vacuum and 
out of sequence. Although you look at the 
dailies, you don't know what an audience is 
going to think until it's in front of them. 

^'Sometimes, you lose your objectivity. 
You hate the film for a while, then you get it 
back, then you hate it for a while, then you 
start liking it again. It's a natural course," 
she notes. "Most of the time, when people 
first assemble it, when they first see the 
movie put together, they throw up or get 
sick. Some friends of mine have walked into 
their first assembly, stopped the film in the 
middle, and just walked out, shouting it's 
the worst film they've ever seen. Meanwhile, 
other people see it and say it's a successful 
movie. It can be devastating or it can be sur- 
prising. Like, *Hmmmm!- So that's how the 
movie turned out!* You don'i know/^ 

Asked to disclose her future plans, Mar- 
shall closes her eyes. 

*'l want id sleep,"' she announces. *iVe 
been working for the past two-and-a-half 
years on two movies back to back, and I'm 
exhausted. I haven't had a weekend off in 1 
don't know how long. Shooting the fihn is 
one thing, but then you must watch the 
dailies afterward, so they're extremely long 
days. Then, there's post-production where 
things slow down a little, but it picks up 
again and you have about two months 
where you're working seven days a week/' 

As the interview concludes, Marshall 
mumbles through her dreamlike state. '*I 
think we have five dissolves and two fade- 
ins, but that's it, 1 don't think anyone will 
notice. We don't even have any stuntmen. 
Not even a slow motion shot. We 'double- 
framed' one shot, it's an old editor's trick. 

'Talk to Ron Howard about special ef- 
fects," she says, as Penny Marshall drifts 
off into her much-deserved big sleep. 



(continued from page 44) 

iti hide, and not make the reader under- 
stand that you're dealing with a creature 
whose face changes expressions, who has its 
own interior biology. 

STARLOG: What's in store for us in the 
future from the pen of C.J. Cherryh? 
CHERRYH; 1 usually do a little bit of fan- 
tasy, from which I enjoy a little relief from 
the technical world. I just finished Cyteen, 
and there is a security force that operates 
within there that is just so paranoid that you 
start walking through doors and watching 
the doorknobs suspiciously. From this kind 
of concentration, I need some relief where 1 
think in a totally different way, so that I can 
go back to a technical world. Sort of like a 

LuckCowr Art Barclay ShaWDAW Books 1982 

Trusting her Merchanier's Luck, Chefryh 
plans to return to the Downbelow Station 
universe, this time visiting a new world, 

camping trip; it is exactly the same thing for 
me to slip back into a less technical society 
for a while as it's a relief for us to go back to 
nature for a week. 

STARLOG: That means that you're work- 
ing on a fantasy novel? 
CHERRYH: Yes, it's kind of a fun story. I 
enjoy occasionally taking fantasy cliches and 
pinning them against the wall and taking 
shots at them. In this case, we have the stan- 
dard samurai novel. This great champion 
who has retired and all of these people have 
come trying to get him to teach- The fact is, 
if you get inside him, he has not only retired, 
he has mentally flushed the whole lifestyle 
away. He doesn't waiit any more of it. 
Frankly, he*s too out of shape to teach 
anybody. This is the point at which a very 
unlikely young student comes along, and he 
ends up taking on the student not because 
he wants to, but because of a situation. "!& 


(continued from page 9) 

by Craig Baxley for Lorimar (a studio whose 
merger into Warner Bros, may affect this 
film's production). This time, Lundgren is on 
Earth to track a power source stolen from a 

The man who was Mork makes it back to 
outer space in T^xxy G\]XiBm"s Adventures of 
Baron Munchausen, due out next spring. 
Robin Williams portrays the King of the 
Moon in this comedy fantasy. 

Fantasy Films: Playwright Wynston Jones 
is scripting the intriguingly titled King of the 
Rocketmen. Two other titles of note are Ex- 
i rater restrials Only and Planet of the Yup- 
pies. There are no projects yet announced to 
go with those names (from Warner Bros.), 
but forewarned is forearmed. 

Kurt Vonnegut Jr/s Breakfast of Cham- 
pions (which prominendy features one of his 
most famed characters, SF writer Kilgore 
Trout) is being scripted by Peter Bergman 
^and Paul {Pulse) Golding (who will also 
direct). This is a Handmade Films project. 
Numerous other Vonnegut works {Player 

Piano, The SirensofTiian)hsivebeenoption- 
ed, but only a handful have ever been filmed. 
They include two novels, Slaughterhouse 
Five (a fme 1972 George Roy Hill movie) and 
Slapstick (a 1982 flick), the play, Happy Bir- 
thday Wanda June (filmed in 1971), two 
short stories (one, part of an unsold love an- 
thology pilot from Universal, the other, 
'*Who Am I This Time?" filmed for PBS' 
American Playhouse) and Between Time and 
Timbuktu (a PBS special intermingling 
characters and concepts from several Von- 
negut works). 

In the meantime, producers David Lan- 
caster, Dann Byck and Joe Kantner are work- 
ing up a movie version of another Vonnegut 
novel, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. 

Comics: Joe Dante is interested in helming 
the exploits of Plastic Man, the classic 
characters whose rubbery adventures were 
chronicled by the late Jack Cole. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger is now finishing 
work on the tentatively titled Brothers 
(formerly Twins). It's a comedy directed by 
Ivan {Ghostbusters) Reitman with 
Schwarzenegger and Danny De Vito as iden- 
iical(?) twin brothers. Reitman reportedly 
begins Ghostbusters 11 in November. Mean- 
while, Schwarzenegger goes lo war. He'll 
portray Robert Kanigher's DC war hero, Sgi. 
Rock. Due to Schwarzenegger's accent, there 
has been a slight change in the character's 
background. Rock's now a German- 
Austrian American, giving him further good 
reason lo hate the Nazis and to want to hear 
the lamentations of their women. 

And though the darknighi detective was 
officially uncast at presstime (negotiations 
still underway), the clown prince of crime has 
revealed his identity. Provided all contracts 
were settled perfectly, it*s Jack Nicholson 
who'll try to get the last laugh on The Bat- 
man, as he dons the green hair and white 
face. , .of The Joker. 

— David McDonnell 

64 SJARLOG/September 1988 

Once again, Walter Koenig defends Earth from hostile aliens 

this time without his Russian accent. 


□ t is late 1988. The space shuttle program 
has resumed* And, on the sterile, grey 
surface of the Moon, two astronauts in 
shining silver suits embark on a life or death 
mission. Suddenly, one begins to gesture 
wildly at his partner, who is frantically pull- 
ing at his helmet. 

'*He can't breathe!" mouths actor Bruce 
Campbell. As director Robert Dyke yells 
**Cut!" crew members rush in to free actor 
Walter Koenig from his airless NASA 
spacesuit. It is just another breathless 
12-hour day on the set of Koenig's new 
feature, Moontrap. 

Koenig plays an aging astronaut, Jason 
Grant, who discovers a derelict in space, "I 
bring back a creature from space on my in- 
itial voyage, AH it is is a metal sphere," the 
actor explains. "But, when it's alone, it 
starts lo create itself into a robot. You have 
to assume that these spheres are program- 
med to do so." 

The alien monsters are dubbed 
"Kaaliuns" by screenwriter Tex Ragsdale. 
"They're an insectizoid/robot or 
humanoid/robot type alien," notes their 
designer, B,K. Taylor. "The Kaaliuns 
assimilate parts from their surrounding en- 
vironment to literally create themselves. We 
never explain y^hy the Kaaliuns are so hostile 
except that it's their method of survival." 


Walter Koenig Is In space again, but this 
time, there are no Starfleet companions to 
help him defeat an ancient alien honor. 

Because the Kaaliun assimilates organic as 
well as inorganic materials to "build" itself, 
Gary Jones of ACME Special Effects had a 
formidable assignment. "We came 99% 
close to Taylor's original concept of the 
creature as it metamorphosizes," says 

After their initial battle with the Kaaliun 
in a NASA Headquarters corridor. Grant 
and his partner, Marty Tanner, played by 
Bruce (The Evil Dead) Campbell 
(FANGORIA ^5) climb aboard the shuttle 
Camelot to explore the source of the alien 
threat on the Moon. **The relationship be- 
tween Grant and Tanner is like that Of two 
space truck drivers," notes writer Ragsdale. 
"Grant is the older partner who missed out 
on the space program in the *60s because he 
was too young then. As the older partner, he 
feels he must compete physically and men- 
tally with Tanner. Grant's very conscious of 
his age and he feels that he must prove 
'himself as a man and an astronaut," 

Koenig agrees. ' ' What I find most 
fascihating about Grant is that he has 
vulnerability," the actor says, "I believed 

MARIAN SUE URAM is a Michigan-based 

wriier She profiled Nichelle Nichols in 
STARLOG YEARBOOK ffl and has also 

reported on Moontrap /or Cinefanlaslique. 

STARLOQ/September 1988 65 

A friendly rivalry exists between the two 

explofers as the older Grant must prove 

himself to the young hot*&hot Tanner. 

from the first thai the only way 1 could 
make this credible was by not denying his 
age. We didn't deny thai Tm not a leading 
man ratlier than trying to make this a 
Robert Conrad epic or something of that 
nature." " ^ 

Tanner, Bruce Campbell's character, is 
the brash Top Gun-iype who isn't sure he 
can learn much from the older Grant. 
"There is a friendly competition going on 
between these guys," Campbell remarks* 
"My character's history is that I was a hot- 
shot pilot in Syria and Tunisia, being the 
first in and the last out. Making the progres- 
sion to astronaut, I'm still sort of a hotshot. 
But Walter's character is tormented because 
he never went into combat. He is a 
tormented soul." 

Campbell is quick to state how much he 
has enjoyed working with Koenig. 
'^Waiter's a pro," says Campbell. "I think 
he's glad to have a starring role. He told me 
that, for the most part, he has been part of 
the team. Now, he's the focus. That's good 
because Walter is a very talented actor." 

Together, the two astronauts discover the 
lone survivor of a 14,000 year-old colony on 
the Moon. Mera, played by newcomer 
Leigh (A Tiger's Tale) Lombardi, is the re- 
maining government official who survived 
the initial Kaaliun attack on the colony. The 
secret of Mera's survival is in the design of 
her stasis capsule— it can only be opened by 
a human handprint! Eventually, Mera and 
Grant team up to fight the seemingly invin- 
cible Kaaliuns. 

Screenwriter Tex Ragsdale 
calls his Moonirap "a For- 








66 SJA^hOG/ September 1988 

bidden Planef-lypG movie in a contemporary 
selling." Direcior Robert Dyke, however 
lerms Moontrap "a fantastic concept but 
not a fantasy film. We remain very aware of 
the science-fiction terminology. The movie 
is scieniifically accurate but maintains 
adventure. We continuously translate the 
scientific portions of the movie to the au- 
dience as it occurs,'' 

" 'Science fiction is already one step 
removed from reality/' Campbell adds. 
"We try to bring it back a little in the way 
we portray the characters." 

\n this first starring role in a film 
without his Russian accent, Koenig (recently 
interviewed in STARLOG ^128) also gets to 
**act his age." That's something he feels 
good about, *There is a certain pressure 
about always being \h^ youngest member of 
the Star Trek crew. You're always playing 
someone who is slightly more naive than the 
rest of the crew," he comments. "It's a nice 
feeling that 1 don't have to watch for every 
wrinkle and crease. If they're there, they're 
there. If anything, they might add some 
dimension to the character." 

Astronauts Jason Grant (Walter Koenig) 
and Marty Tanner (Bmce Campbell) 
discover an ancient base that turns 

Into a Moontrap, 

There will also be another career first for 
Koenig in Moontrap, a semi-nude love scene 
which takes place on the Moon between 
Grant and Mera. "Lt's a scene where Jason 
is about ready to concede that he has not 

After thousands of years In hibernation, 
Mera (Leigh Lombardt) can't wait to get 
back into the swing of things with the 
boys (Koenig & Campbell). 

achieved what he. had hoped to in his life/' 
explains Koenig, "that he is not the man he 
thought he was.*' The love scene, the film- 
makers promise, also serves to add a touch 
of human sensitivity in contrast to the 
relentless robotic horror, "It can be an 
evocative scene, // 1 do it right!" laughs 

Moontrap provides a new career twist for 
Campbell as well. "This part is different," 
he says- "With the Evil Dead movies, Fm 
used to killing people to survive. And 
because this movie is about Walter and his 
character, it's a different perspective for me; 
Vm used to not only being the movie's star, 
but working behind the camera, too. This is 
a nice departure because it's mostly dialogue 
and not being an idiot. Moontrap is a 
relatively intelligent movie." 

For Walter Koenig, Moontrap is a long- 
awaited challenge. "This movie is my op- 
portunity," he announces. "If I blow it, Tm 
out the door," "^ 

SJARLOG/Septemf}erI988 67 


I I ' 

' 4 


■■ F- 

Blaae in nana, the actress rides off into the sunset, 
having fought the good fight alongside "Willow." 


I don't ever remember sitting down and 
saying, *This is why 1 want to be an 
actress,' I just knew/' says Joanne 
Whalley, who stars as Sorsha in the Ron 
Howard-George Lucas fantasy film, 
PViliow. **It was never a conscious decision 
-or a revelation." 

Wilhw is Whalley's first genre film. In 
her brief career, she has been very active in 
television, movies and the stage in her native 
Great Britain. 

"Tve been in a few small British films, No 
Surrender and The Good Father, and Tve 
done British television, including a series 
currently showing in some parts of the U,S. 
called The Singing Detective" she explains. 
"Apart from things like that, Tve done 
quiie a bit of stage work in England. When 
we staned rehearsing for WilIow^\x\ the 
midst of working with the swordmasier— in 
the evenings, 1 was doing Chekov*s The 
Three Sisters. That was quite an odd com- 

Il has been a distinguished career, too* as 
the reference to Anton Chekov suggests, but 
a career that apparently came without much 
planning. "1 never studied acting. It was just 
what I always wanted to do from the time 1 
was very little, 1 can't remember a lime 
when I wanted to do anything else/' 
Whalley admits, "I was very lucky. I got my 
union card early. I've worked with some 
very interesting people, doing most of my 
stage work at the Royal Court Theatre. I've 
been nominated for the Olivier Award [Bri- 
tain's Tony] for some of my stage ap- 
pearances. The things I have done up to 
now, have been fairly serious. 

*' Willow is very much a departure for me, 
in terms of the kind of project it is, and its 
scale. It's a big film,'' she explains. '"That 
was all quite a shock. 1 never felt over- 
powered, jusi very excited. 1 had a great 
time. Horseback riding is one of my pas- 
sions, and I got to ride some great horses in 
the film. I got to learn fencing, which I now 
love. So rarely do girls get an opportunity to 
do that sort of thing." 

Whalley 's character, Sorsha, goes 
through something of a transformation in 
Willow. "She begins the film as a represen- 
tative of her mother, but she goes through 
various changes," the actress agrees. "By 
the movie's end, she's quite a different per- 
son from the one we met at the beginning." 

What doesn't change, says Whalley, is the 
essence of Sorsha — the courageous female 
warrior heart. '*She's quite fearless, tough, 
adventurous. She's feminine, too. I think 
she's like most young girls today, actually. 
What I like about her is that she's a very 
positive character. I hope she represents a 
positive image, a good role model for girls. 
Though she never loses her vulnerability, she 
can still go out on her own and do things." 

Slash & Crash 

Whalley admits to being quite adven- 
turous herself, with a flair for the athletic in 
life. That stood her in good stead during the 

rigors of lensing Willow. *'I did a little bit of 
archery. In fact, there's a scene we shot 
(which has not been used in the film — Ron 
Howard told me why, but 1 forget now) of 
which I'm quite proud. It's a bit where Sor- 
sha, on horseback, takes two enemies out 
with her bow and arrow. It involved gallop- 
ing along, without the reins, knocking and 
aiming the bow and firing, twice. It's a 
shame it's gone, but there's so much action 
in the film, you can't keep everything. That 
was just a tiny bit." 

Sometimes, the action can get out of hand 
even under the most controlled cir- 
cumstances. *'0n my first day of shooting," 
Whalley notes, "we did a scene in a tavern 
where Sorsha has her army with her and 
everyone Is pushing each other around. I 
jam my sword into the floor and leave it 
there, then whip off my helmet with the 
same hand, to reveal that I'm not just any 
knock-about soldier. I'm a girl, I'm Sorsha. 

"We did it quite a few times for different 
angles. So, 1 had done this movement over 
and over, and gotten very free with it. Well, 
they kept moving the actors closer and 
closer together for tighter shots, and one 
particular time, 1 jammed the sword into the 
floor and heard a strange noise. I had put it 
through somebody's boot! Fortunately, it 
missed his toes, because he curled them up 
inside the boot, but this poor stuntman was 
nearly skewered. It warned all the siuntmen: 
^ We've got six months of //j/5 coming up.' " 

Whalley has nothing but praise for those 
professionals, however, admiring their skill 

What could be menacing Sorsha the 

warrior woman? An awesome army? An 

eerie Eborsisk? Nope, it's probably a plank, 

Whalley reveals. 

STARLOG/September 1988 69 

"I hope she represents a good, positive role model for girls " Whalley says, 
considering how feisty but feminine Sorsha is. 

DonM let those laid-back looks fool you. Joanne Whalley reaify was "very excited*' 
about working on Willow. "\ had a great time/' 

ai a range of abilities. *'The stuntmen were 
wonderful, because sword fights, especially, 
are like dance — everything is choreographed 
to the mh degree. Sometimes it's difficult, 
because you can get slammed a little ego 
hard and lose your breath or your balance, 
and that throws the timing off." 

Learning to stage-fence for the role 
wasn't made any easier by the blade Whalley 
had to handle. ''My sword is a big saber-like 
thing with a serrated edge, and it's evil,'' she 
chuckles. **rm not sure what it was made 
out of. It may have been a lightweight metal 
but, stili, when youVe got a sword that size 
with a big handle and all, it was heavy. Bill 
Hobbs is a brilliant swordmaster and he says 
he was very pleased with me^ It's a whole 
new kind of coordination, even though Vm 
fairly athletic." 

She knew swordplay would be important 
righi from the beginning. The subject came 
up ill her second interview with director Ron 
Howard (STARLOG #132). "The English 
casting directors called me in to meet Ron, 

Then. 1 was called in a second time to meet 
him, and did a videotape for him," she 
remembers. *Thal was very funny, because 
he made me sit on a chair sideways, and pre- 
tend it was a horse. He handed me a silver 
plastic sword to use as well. That got me the 
job," she laughs. 

"What 1 liked about Ron was that he 
always had time. Among the central core of 
actors, there was a feeling that we were a 
constructive team," Whalley notes. "We all 
fek free to make suggestions. And Ron has 
a peacefulness about him. He was a center 
of calm amid all the spectacle, and you 
could always take him to one side and talk 
to him. He would ask your opinion of the 
scene; it wasn't always 'Right, we've got it! 
On to the next shot!' Sometimes, it had to 
be that way, purely because of its scale, or 
things that couldn't be repeated. But, in 
general, I felt very comfortable with Ron. I 
was able to make suggestions and try out 
new things. That was great because often on 
a project of this scale, you don't have that 

space to work in," 

She is equally pleased with the work of 
executive producer George Lucas. '*He was 
around a lot during filming. He oversaw 
everything, every detail. He was very con- 
cerned. I was amazed by his energy, because 
he -was also doing another production 
[Tucker] at the same time. Somehow, he 
always seemed to be on our set, and he had 
quite a bit of say in every area of the film* 
He was always there, very confident, and at 
the same time, very meticulous, poring over 
details. '^ 

Flame & Fame 

For a stage-trained actress used to dealing 
with the theater's work-a-day props, a pro- 
duction like Willow can present some 
challenges in other areas, such as working 
with special effects. Surprisingly, Whalley 
says they weren't a big problem for her. 

"I never had any problem working with 
the effects sequences. Most of it's imagina- 
tion anyway. Sometimes when you^re saying 
things like Torward, men!' you have to 
really believe you have an army at your back 
that you can lead," she explains. "You have 
to totally immerse yourself in it, or you'll 
never make anyone believe anything you 
say. I didn't have too much to do with the 
Brownies or any of the talking animals or 
anything like that. I did have a couple of 
shots where Pm looking at the Eborsisk 
monster— and what I'm actually facing is a 
plank! A really long plank that somebody 
was waving around. But 1 had to go in there 
thinking, 'No, I'm not seeing a plank, I'm 
seeing the Eborsisk.' It's part of your job." 

Whalley certainly had no trouble dealing 
with her co-stars, especially Val {Top Gun) 
Kilmer (STARLOG YEARBOOK #3) who 
plays the heroic (if slightly off-kiher) Mad- 
martigan. Real-life romance arose and the 
pair were married in March. 

Merchandising is a growing part of the 
promotion of movies hke Wilhw. Is 
Whalley prepared to walk into a toyslore 
and find a six-inch replica of herself on the 
shelves? "Not really, no/' she laughs. **It 
won*t be so bad. though, because I don't 
have the long ginger hair thai Sorsha has. 1 
never iook like myself on screen. It's like a 
large family of sisters, or something. 
Sorsha's like a distant cousin. 

*'Most actors try to do as many different 
things as possible. 1 like the encouragement I 
get from doing new things. I like to feel 
scared or challenged, in the hope that I can 
pull it off. That little bit of fear creates an 
energy that 1 can channel into the perform- 
ance. And you have to keep lapping new 
pans of yourself, keep working, or you 
never improve. The only way to improve is 
to set yourself harder goals. 1 was con- 
sidered, at the time, very young to play the 
mk 1 had in The Three Sisiers. Normally, 
it's played by somebody maybe 10 years 
older than 1 am, but the director had the 
faith in me and 1 had the faith in myself to 
attempt it. 

^That's what acting is about, for me at 
least,'* says Joanne Whalley, ''tackling dif- 
ferent personas and characters.'* -^ 

70 STARLOG/ September 1988 


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(continued from page 40) 

lengths, and say, 'OK, go ahead and 
animate this, and then weM! decide if we 
want to trim these shots or not.* Weil, [if] 
you lop off a second of animation, you're 
throwing thousands and thousands of 
dollars away, so you really can't do it that 
way. YonVe just got to get over thai hurdle 
and start thinking completely visually, and il 
worked out great." 

With the live action Him essentially com- 
pleted, Zemeckis proceeded to the second 
pan of his "triad'*: the animation, "i would 
bring the film here (to the London anima- 
tion studio] and I would run the scene for 
the animators: Richard and whoever the 
team was. We had different teams of 
animators, we had weasel animators, Jessica 
animators, Roger animators. Whatever 
scene we were doing, we would spend entire 
days— tveeAs— in here, and I would say, 
*OK, now this is where the rabbit says his 
line,' and then I would say what I saw hap- 
pening there, and 1 would direct the 
animators, just as I would direct actors: 1 
would say, '1 see the rabbit doing it like 
this,' and then the animators would say, 
'What if he did it like this?'— but they drew 
it, right there. They said, 'You mean he 
looks tike this?*, and i said, 'Well no, that's 
loo sad, he looks. , .' Animators act 
through their pencils, so it was very easy to 
communicate with them." 

The challenge for the animators was a 
lough one. Having "broken all the rules of 
interactive animation" in the test reel, 
Zemeckis was depending on the animation 
staff and the optical compositing process to 
combine live action with animation to a 
standard of realism and naturalness that had 
never been achieved before. To describe the 
Jiew process by which they visually 
augmented the Toons with depth and 
presence, the moviemakers coined the term, 
"multi-dimensional interactive character 

"it's done for three reasons," Zemeckis 
explains. **One is because first of all, I 
didn't accommodate the animation at all 
when 1 shot the live action. ! had no regard 
for the animators' problems. 1 just shot the 
movie like I would a normal movie, and I 
didn't worry if something had to go in front 
of a Toon, or if there was smoke in a scene. 
If ihe camera had to move, it moved. 

"Otherwise, I knew, it would look stiff, 
and 1 knew that that would ultimately drag 
the film's whole energy down. It's like hav- 
ing a problematic actor, if you have an actor 
who's a prima donna and you start to give in 
to him, then it drags the whole film down. 
That's why the animation couldn't be a 
prima donna, why they had to go with us. 

"The second thing was that we had this 
incredible animation staff. There are no 
computers. Everything is absolute, raw 
talent . These guys see that the camera moves 
like that, and they know how to draw 
perspective shift in the cartoon character, 
and keep them living so wonderfully. 

*The third part of the formula is the ILM 
technique, which is realiv sophisticated, as 
far as putting the cartoon characters into the 
film itself, it involves massive amounts-of 
things called tone mattes, hold-out mattes 
and photo-roto. it's truly state-of-the-art," 

Who Knew? 

in retrospect, the most difficult thing for 
Zemeckis in making Roger Rabbit was 
everything. "The film just got more difficult 
as it went on," tie says. "Preparation was 
very important, and we had a great crew. 
Shooting was so difficult 1 thought that 
nothing could ever be more difficult than 
that. The editing turned out to be 
ouirageousty difficult; and then the final 
process of turning over to the animation, 
and having to deal with a finite number of 
frames — i mean, we're not talking about 
seconds or minutes, we're talking about 

"Had I known 1 was going to have to 
make a film under those certain limitations, 
i would have thought twice about it. But 1 
was in it, so we just made it work and we 
rose above it. It just got very difficult; and 
the difficulty is translated into every normal 
aspect of filmmaking, 

"For example, we do something called 
Foley movement — footsteps. Now, what 
does Dumbo sound like when he's hover- 
ing? in most cartoons, sound effects are 
either real goofy, slide-whistle type things, 
or music does it. Here, we've got this [real 
world], so i pose the qL;stion, if a cartoon 
rabbit walked in here ;n this real three- 
dimensional world, what would it sound 
like? What would its feet sound like walking 
on the fioor? 

"No one has ever thought of any of this 
before, because no one has ever done it 
before. What is great about it is that 
everyone is rising to the challenge," 

The other difficult thing about the movie 
was making it all look easy, "The whole 
point is to make it invisible," Zemeckis says. 
"The key to the whole process is that you're 
involved in the characters, whether they be 

human or Toon, and in the story. As I've 
said many times to the entire staff, Mf 
everyone sits there for ItX) minutes and con- 
stantly goes, "Gorf, how did they do that? 
\Vow\ look at that," we've completely 
Jailed, because all we've done is a bunch of 
technical stuff. All this back-breaking work 
should be invisible.' " 

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is Zemeckis' 
fourth film with Steven Spielberg as execu- 
tive producer. "We work together in a busi- 
ness sense, we don't work together in a film- 
maker sense any more. I mean, he's an exec- 
utive producer and I'm a director," Zem- 
eckis notes. "He's a big fan of Ihe films I 
do, and in this case, he was able to be the 
one person on Earth who could get Mickey 
Mouse and Bugs Bunny together, in the 
same frame, along with all these other 
cartoon characters, so that was vitally 

"Working with Steven is never a prob- 
lem, it's always good, and he's always there 
when you need him," 

Another of Zemeckis' close collaborators 
is Bob Gale (STARLOG /'IIO), who co- 
wrote and produced three of Zemeckis' 
movies: Used Cars, I IVanna Hold Your 
Hand and Back to the Future (which 
Zemeckis discussed in STARLOG #99). The 
Shadow, which at one stage Zemeckis and 
Gale were actively working on, is no longer 
a priority. "7"/?e Shadow is something that 1 
developed and liked very much, but it 
doesn't seem to be on my piate at this 
point," Zemeckis notes. "1 havenM been 
[involved with it] since I started Roger.'' 

But Zemeckis will team with Gale and 
Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment again for 
his next project, "We're working on Back 
t0^ (he Future II right now," the director 
declares, declining to comment much fur- 
ther, beyond noting that the script "is in 
work right now," shooting will be '*in the 
winter," and that "everybody's in it, the en- 
tire cast." 

■*lt'li be out in summer '89," Robert 
Zemeckis says. 'That's not tentative, that's 
for sure ."'' -^ 

SI ^KLOQ/ September 19SS 73 





It always used to be FANGORIA which enjoyed the most 
personal appearances, but other STARLOG PRESS 
publications seem to be getting into the act, STAR TREK: 
THE NEXT GENERA TION Magazine H with Michael Dorn 
on the cover appeared on the Fox Network's Late Show when 
Dorn stopped by for a chat, A few weeks later, when Denise 
Crosby visited the very same TV show (to discuss series 
departures & Playboy magazine layouts), cameras uncovered 
STARLOG #130's cover as weU. 

'Course that Denise Crosby interview did cause a bit of 
reader reaction (see page 8). Lotsa letters! Several readers asked 
why we ''deliberately" printed out-of-date info on Crosby's 
departure from the series or allowed her "to lie" to us. Others 
wondered why Enieriainment Tonight and TV Guide had the 
story differently (that she was leaving). A few demanded we 
lead a letter campaign to have her reinstated or theorized that 
ihe Playboy photos had caused her firing. And one reader 
decried us for jumping on the death publicity bandwagon. 

To get to my answers on this topic, let's underline 
STARLOG "lead time," the lime it takes to produce an issue 
of fhis magazine. This issue (#134) is on sale in August, but i^ 
was printed and prepared for distribution in July, sent to the 
color separator/printer and prepared for printing in June, 
edited and sent to the art department to be designed (mostly) in 
May, with interviews done and articles written for it in May 
and earlier. The same hoids true for STARLOG #130 (on sale 
in ApriJ). Just count back the months. Marc Shapiro — who 
had already been assigned to interview Crosby — talked with her 
as soon as we heard rumors of her exodus. Those reports, at 
the lime of that interview (January 12, 1988), surprised 
her— (^'Tasha^s being killed off?. , ,. I c/o/iV think things have 
gotten heated enough to where they've decided to kill me 
off.") and hence, the mostly negative answer to the cover's 
question **Will they kill off Denise Crosby?" However, between 
that interview's occurrence and its appearance on newsstands, 
matters changed, Crosby decided to leave the show, filmed her 
death (in an episode which may have been scripted prior to our 
interview, but revised several times later) and announced her 
departure on Paramount TV's Entertainment Tonight whose 
daily broadcast certainly beats our three-month lead time. 
Subsequent reports surfaced in TV Guide (a weekly) and 
elsewhere. Then, in April, STARLOG #130 appeared. A month 
later, *'Skin of Evil" aired and it was fait accompli for Tasha Yar. 

With all that inside info known, let me answer a few 
questions. Did we deliberately print out-of-date info? Of course 
not! Understanding lead time shows how events can outrun any 
monthly (or weekly) magazine's capacity to report them. Did 
we allow Crosby to '*lie'' to us? Of course not— and it's a 
stupid, insulting question, fella. In fact, Marc Shapiro inter- 
viewed Denise Crosby again — on May 16 — and he asked her 
about those earher answers. She says that at the time of the 
#130 interview, she hadn't made the decision to leave. Her con- 
cerns about Star Trek: The Next Generation had been express- 
ed and were apparently being addressed but nobody was (then) 
getting killed off. Turn to page 29 this issue and read more 
about Crosby's departure in Marc's follow-up interview. 


enise Cros 




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J*mniy 0(seri 
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Nightmares ol 

Did this cover 
ruin the sur 
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rumors? Jump 
on the death 
And did It catch 
your eye on the 


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Why did Entertainment Tonight and TV Guide report 
matters differently? They're daily and weekly, folks. Should 
STARLOG lead a campaign to reinstate her? Nope. Thai's not 
our job. Network execs and producers iisten to letters from 
fans and viewers (though they may do nothing). It's up to you 
to lead, though I doubt that in this case, such a campaign 
could succeed. The actress would have to want to return; 
Crosby may not. And the Playboy photos? What are you talk- 
ing about?!? Everyone knew about them from the beginning! 
Did STARLOG jump on a btodwagon of doom? Hardly. As 
far as we can tell, we were the//r5/ to ask Crosby about the 
topic, not the last — and if the issue appeared in the midst of 
Y£U"'s death barrage, thai was unexpected, my ability to predict 
the future having been cloudy lately. 

But of course, there was one reader query which isn't easy to 
answer. Since it could spoil the surprise, should STARLOG 

have used ''Will they kiil off Denise Crosby?*' as a coverline? 
Personally— having written that line — I felt it would do its 
job, arousing reader interest while the story inside defused 
prevalent rumors. But, this reader asked, "If you had the 
chance to do it over again, knowing what you do now, would 
you?" Maybe, If I had access to a time machine, I'd know. 

Which brings us, of course, right Back to ihe Future. Adam 
Pirani profiled its co-writer/director, Robert Zemeckis, this 
issue (page 37) re: his detective-fantasy romp, Who Framed 
Roger Rabbit? But, a few months ago, I interviewed Zemeckis 
as well, out on location with Roger Rabbit (STARLOG #132) 
and 1 asked him about one of the most popular features weWe 
ever done — Bruce Gordon's "The Other Marty McFly," an 
essay which explored the time travel alternatives behind Back to 
the Future (pubUshed in STARLOG #108). 

Had Zemeckis read it? Yes. ''Most people never got all that 
stuff," Zemeckis explained. "The theory that he IBruce Gor- 
don] proposed is the theory that makes the time travel story in 
Back to the Future possible, the sort of two existing 
simultaneous universes theory. He really nailed it [in the essay]. 
Almost everything he mentioned— except one thing, he saw 
something that wasn't there in only one scene, but everything 
else he nailed, right on" 

Just thought you'd like to know. 

—David McDonnell/Editor (June 1988) 

The future in STARLOG: In upcoming months, Van Williams unmasks as The Green Hornet. . .Marta 
Kristen remembers being Lost in Space. . . Patrick iVIcGoohan comments on his tenure as The 
Prisoner. . . legendary animator Ward Kimball recalls his days with Wait Disney, Pinocchio and Jiminy 
Cricket. . , Jerry Sohi talks of writing Star Trek and the wonders of science-fiction literature. . .and 
Patrick Stewart speaks of Dune, Lifeforce and Excaiibur (and Star Trek: The Next Generation, too). 
The wonders begin in STARLOG #135» on sale Thursday, September 1, 1988. 

74 STARLOG/ September 1988 





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